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]

Jun 112015
 
Spirit in Action's Spring 2015 Newsletter

Click here to read the entire Spring 2015 Newsletter A Letter from Linda Stout Dear Friends, We are at a time of great unrest and unimaginable opportunity. In the words of YES! Magazine, “A new civil rights movement is being born.” We watch in horror as practices that are ages old are brought to light through new technology like cellphone videos. Savvy young people are drawing increased attention to police brutality, poverty, and a country built on systemic and institutionalized racism. The outpour of protest seen from Trayvon Martin in Sanford, FL to Ferguson to Baltimore and beyond has brought hope that practices targeting and criminalizing African-Americans will be rejected at last. Young people rallying their generation [Read More]

May 212015
 
“Inspiring, Exciting, Motivating”: We the People’s First Community Visioning

Last month, on April 22nd, We the People held our first community visioning!  With over 40 people in attendance, our potluck-style gathering was a huge success.  The positive energy in the room was tangible and every single attendee had something affirmative to say in our closing.  “Inspiring,” “exciting,” and “motivating,” were just a few of the words floating around the room. Spirit in Action’s We the People organizing initiative is located in the unincorporated community of Swannanoa, North Carolina.  We have been conducting a listening project in collaboration with Warren Wilson students for over a year now, and has interviewed well over 200 community members in Swannanoa.  Through this listening project, we’ve identified the top [Read More]

Apr 142015
 
We the People Interns Working Together With Community Members at the Welcome Table

By Amanda Citro and Caroline Duble We the People: Working Together is Spirit in Action’s newest research and organizing initiative.  Our goal is to engage low-income and working-class people in grassroots organizing and to empower communities to take charge of the issues that affect them!  We’ve been conducting a listening project in Swannanoa, North Carolina over the past year and have interviewed over 100 people about their love of this community and about their shared concerns.  Written from the point of view of two Spirit in Action interns, Caroline and Amanda, this blog post highlights of the amazing work of an important group in the Swannanoa community, The Welcome Table.  Read more about the vision [Read More]

Mar 172015
 
Creating Change 2015 - Caroline Duble

Hello, all!  Some of you know me as the Social Justice Resident at Spirit in Action, but for many of you, this is your first time hearing from me.  My name is Caroline Duble; I am from Houston, Texas, and I have lived in Swannanoa, North Carolina for the past 5 years.  I graduated from Warren Wilson College in May 2014, and have been working for Spirit in Action since August 2014! There are so many things that I want to share with you all, about We the People, about the class that Linda is teaching at Warren Wilson, about our vision for a better Swannanoa… but I’ve recently  returned from a spectacular professional development [Read More]

Feb 232015
 
Becoming an Elder:  Bravely Going Where Young People Have Gone Before - by Linda Stout

The best part of getting older (I just celebrated my 61st birthday!) is that I get to see young leaders that have come through one of our trainings or networks, now taking the reins of both new and old national organizations, as well as regional and local.  It is a thrilling moment to see these young leaders now being the leaders and keynote speakers at major national conferences and something I hope to keep contributing to from the place of an “elder” activist (I don’t feel old enough to deserve that term, but young people now talk about their elderly parents or grandparents that are younger than me!).  We have too much work to do [Read More]

Dec 182014
 
We The People-Working Together shares its story!

We the People: Working Together is an exciting new research and organizing project that endeavors to make the crucial and vital shift from division to unity in order to create and sustain equality and justice for all. Please see above video of how our organizing is helping communitiy members and students engage with each other for greater change.

Nov 102014
 
Spirit in Action's Fall Newsletter

If you are like me, there are a few dozen things (or more!) that feel like they need our urgent attention. I could work full-time on the many different issues that pull at me. All seem equally necessary and critical. I know that if I could put all my time and resources into it, it might make a difference. But how do I decide? (continue reading by downloading our fall newsletter)