Since moving from North Carolina to Massachusetts five years ago, I’ve heard over and over again that I must be so relieved to live somewhere more progressive and accepting—somewhere that isn’t as “backward” as the South.
These statements don’t surprise me anymore, but they do make me sad. There’s no doubt that many Southern states are the home of some of the most extreme anti-abortion, anti-trans, and anti-voter laws in the country. But the South is also home to countless people working together for equity and justice.
I was born and raised in the South and have seen the power of collective, community-led, grassroots organizing firsthand. Whether through direct action protests rallying against transphobic legislation in front of former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s home or occupying the North Carolina General Assembly to demand a return to democracy, North Carolinians meet the moment every time.
That’s why Daily Kos is fundraising for eight organizations that are mobilizing in frontline communities to educate and empower North Carolina voters in the 2022 elections and beyond. Click here to donate $1 to each of these organizations as they continue to develop deep, democracy-building infrastructure in the Tar Heel State.
Swing states often bear the brunt of voter suppression, and North Carolina is no different. From combating voter intimidation at the polls to ensuring everyone who is eligible to vote is registered and can access the ballot box, there’s no shortage of work to do. Your support of these organizations will help them get the job done:
North Carolina Asian Americans Together supports equity and justice for all by fostering community among Asian Americans and allies in North Carolina through civic engagement, leadership development, grassroots mobilization, and political participation. Currently, they are focusing on year-round integrated voter engagement, engagement, and registration; community-building projects like citizenship assistance clinics; and youth development projects.
Democracy North Carolina uses research, organizing, and advocacy to strengthen democratic structures, build power among disenfranchised communities, and inspire confidence in a transformed political process that works for all. They organize on the grassroots level to promote safe voting sites and expand access for eligible voters through their election advocacy and protection programs. The organization connects the needs of BIPOC citizens to voting, and promotes Black and Brown leadership and government participation in their respective communities. Democracy North Carolina advocates for progressive policy reforms that benefit everyone.
Forward Justice is a law, policy, and strategy center dedicated to advancing racial, social, and economic justice in the U.S. South. Forward Justice is working on a number of campaigns, including Unlock the Vote, which focuses on removing barriers to vote post-incarceration based on previous felony convictions and substantially reshape electoral participation by those previously disenfranchised, and Protect Our Vote, which increases public understanding of the racially discriminatory origins of voter suppression tactics, increases voter access to the ballot, and strengthens unity in democracy.
El Pueblo builds collective power through leadership development, organizing, and direct action so that the Latinx community and other marginalized communities control their own stories and destinies. They are working to expand the Latinx electorate in 10 counties throughout North Carolina and engage their base through civic engagement efforts to ensure Latinx voices are heard at the polls. El Pueblo also focuses on legislative advocacy to protect reproductive rights, prevent anti-immigrant bills from passing, and push for in-state tuition and drivers’ licenses for undocumented community members.
Muslim Women For works to foster and nurture vibrant Muslim societies that create positive social change and uplift their communities through political education, leadership development, relationship building, women of color empowerment, and grassroots organizing. This year, they will primarily focus on voter education and GOTV efforts in Muslim communities to register new Muslim voters, mobilize registered Muslims, and ensure that Muslims know their voting rights. They are prioritizing immigrant justice and protection, phonebanks to reach 60,000 Muslim voters, and community discussions and relational organizing events.
Advance Carolina is a Black-led organization that educates and mobilizes African-American and progressive voters to take charge of their communities by building and supporting permanent political and electoral infrastructures and exercising and expanding political influence. Their work is founded on the principle of creating relationships and partnerships with strategic communities in North Carolina and their efforts to defeat problems that systematically oppress people of color in targeted counties or areas of the state. In 2022, they will engage 230,000 voters in rural and urban North Carolina with a focus on down-ballot races and deep issue engagement.
Down Home North Carolina is unique in its focus on building permanent, statewide organizing infrastructure in North Carolina’s rural places. Through their growing network of member-led, county-based chapters, Down Home North Carolina is engaged in year-round organizing. In 2022, Down Home North Carolina will engage more than 60,000 rural residents through front-porch conversations as they work to expand Medicaid, protect North Carolina public schools, and prepare communities to participate in the midterm elections.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice believes that communities engaged in social justice struggles need a multi-pronged approach including a team of attorneys, social scientists, researchers, community organizers, and media specialists to support them in their efforts to dismantle structural racism and oppression. In 2022, they intend to support a robust election protection and administration program and engage in a variety of activities such as staffing the North Carolina voter hotline, rapid response deployment to counties during voting, assistance at polling sites, attendance at county board of elections meetings, and local elections monitoring efforts, data collection, advocacy, and organizing. The ultimate goal is to ensure that voters of color and all voters in the South can elect their preferred candidates freely and safely.
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