Down Home: You have been deeply engaged with the work of Down Home. What inspired you to get involved?
I wanted to be a part of an inclusive civic organization that had some flexibility in involvement expectations. My schedule is hectic, so my involvement and engagement fluctuates, but I always feel welcome when I am able to participate.
Down Home: What are some of the things you love most about where you live?
I have lived in Burlington since 1993 (27 years), but some of my family lives here, so I’ve been coming all my life. I love the small town feel, but effort to provide a variety of activities. I love the proximity to everything!
Down Home: What are some of the biggest issues facing your community?
Quality of school facilities, affordable housing, community mentoring for our youth
All of these things attract or keep families living in our community. They also have a trickle down effect. If young people are engaged in positive activities, they are less likely to engage in negative ones. Affordable housing and a great school system will help with teacher recruiting. All these factors encourage families to stay and businesses to come. Higher employment means more tax money, less crime and an overall better quality of life here. Racial tension is another issue. We cannot progress without dealing with our issues and improving as a county/community.
Down Home: How do you define rural? Why do you think it’s important to organize in rural North Carolina?
Rural to me means a smaller city surrounded by towns. It is important to keep up with the quality of life in surrounding counties. Economics is based on competition and we don’t want to come out on the losing end. Small towns also hold tight to tradition. Just because it’s always been done a certain way doesn’t mean it’s right for us today or that improvements can’t be made.
Down Home: Can you describe something that you have done or participated in with Down Home that felt particularly powerful or meaningful to you?
My role is generally academic. I help people find the right words to express themselves. The platform to get the ACS bond referendum passed was most dear to my heart. Helping a family write letters of support was another special activity for me.
Down Home: What do you imagine a powerful, healthy community looks like?
Low crime, a thriving school system, affordable housing, a fair and just criminal justice system, activities for all people, fair elections, mental health support, and a community that can meet most of its members’ needs without leaving the county.
Want to learn more about Down Home and our organizing? Find your local chapter here.