Nov 212016
 
The Joy of Organizing Along the Road to Justice

It is a powerful time to be doing election work. When we ride out to the communities, there is a merging of fear and excitement. We round the unpaved roads through the Blue Ridge Mountains, rural Appalachia full of reminders that there was once a thriving industry here. We pull up to the mobile home park, or brick duplexes, or cluster of apartments, and the memories play out. I think of the grandmother who brought me in the home, fed me, asked me about my family while registering her sons to vote and holding her grandchildren. I think about the man who warned us to not go to the yellow house, “because he always answers [Read More]

Sep 202016
 
How do we sustain HOPE in times of crisis?

It’s really hard to have a positive outlook or hope with all that’s happening in the world today: political chaos, hate, violence, environmental disaster, and a list much too long to write here.  And worse, it seems that people are feeding off all this hatred and chaos and it continues to grow, taking over everything else, like a vine that consumes and strangles a tree’s life.  Sometimes it gets so discouraging, that I, like many others I know, just want to bury my head in the sand like an ostrich. I could ignore it and pretend it isn’t happening.  I can dream about moving out of the country if things get worse.  Many people are [Read More]

Jun 142016
 
Spirit in Action's Summer 2016 Newsletter

Click here to read the entire Summer 2016 Newsletter. Dear Friends, North Carolina has been in the national news a lot lately. Passing the nation’s worst voter suppression law, it eliminated same-day voter registration, cut a full week of early voting, barred voters from casting a ballot outside their home precinct, ended straight-ticket voting, and scrapped a program to pre-register high school students who would turn 18 by Election Day. It also included the nation’s strictest voter ID requirement. Here’s how the law affected me in the last primary election. Before I could vote, the poll monitor required me to hand over my ID. He scrutinized it with great care and at great length. Then [Read More]

Dec 152015
 
Celebrating our Victories and Preparing for the Future

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. Over the last year, I attended two dynamic national conferences: one called “Creating Change,” which included more than 4,000 LGBTQ activists and organizers across the country working on multiple issues that affect disenfranchised people, and another dealing with building power through voter engagement. I was both surprised and gratified to find that the young people, who had gone through Spirit in Action trainings years ago, were now middle-aged leaders or speakers at the conferences.  Many of them are heading up successful national and regional organizations and networks. I shouldn’t have been surprised because I know that Spirit in Action is an incubator, empowering hundreds of [Read More]

Sep 292015
 
Alligators & Frog Legs:  The Face of Hunger (Part 2 of 2)

Last week I wrote about growing up hungry. If you missed Part 1 of this blog, click here. Yesterday’s local paper carried the headline that 450 local students were homeless and needed food and other items to survive. As I wrote last week, I am haunted by a billboard on our way to the interstate that reads “One in Four Children in North Carolina will go to bed hungry tonight”. Just last week, I visited my baby sister, Jane, in Southern Georgia who has just been diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. It was also a re-visit to my childhood. She and her family are low-income, and were constantly looking for how to buy food items [Read More]

Sep 212015
 
Alligators & Frog Legs:  The Face of Hunger (Part 1 of 2)

A couple weeks ago, I got fooled into eating some alligator at a festival (I thought it was a super-sized chicken finger) and also frog legs (which I thought were chicken wings).  The taste is different, although does resemble some taste of chicken in the mix; but they are certainly not something I would choose to eat. Interestingly enough, I grew up eating these foods, in addition to turtle, rabbit, squirrel, snake, and occasionally, bear.  I ate these foods because we were very poor and this was what “poor” people ate when they couldn’t afford to buy foods like chicken or beef. Today these items are sold as a delicacy in some fancy restaurants, or [Read More]