Organizing across racial and class divides in rural North Carolina

In rural North Carolina, dog-whistle politics focused on scapegoating minorities for social and economic problems have long fueled racial resentment but have done little to address high poverty rates and rising inequality, says Alicia Walker-Patterson. This is why Walker-Patterson, deputy field director of Down Home North Carolina, works with other grassroots organizers to get residents in rural areas engaged in the political process and to show them that their voices matter. Since 2016, these progressive activists have organized areas like Alamance County and other parts of deep-red, rural North Carolina that have long been ignored by the Democratic Party. However, just going door to door and asking voters to support their cause doesn’t make much of a difference, and that is why Down Home relies on deep canvassing, a strategic approach to canvassing that draws on active listening and asking non-judgmental questions to spark deep, meaningful conversations.

In this on-the-ground report for our special series “Defending Democracy in the 2022 Midterm Elections,” TRNN’s Jaisal Noor and Joshua Komer speak with members of Down Home North Carolina about how they are working to build working-class, grassroots power one voter at a time.

Pre-Production/Studio: Jaisal Noor, Joshua Komer
Post-Production: Jaisal Noor, Joshua Komer, Cameron Granadino

This story is part of a series that was made possible with the support of the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems.


Transcript

The transcript of this video will be made available as soon as possible.

Jaisal Noor

Jaisal is currently the Democracy Initiative Manager at the Solutions Journalism Network and is a former TRNN host, producer, and reporter. He mainly grew up in the Baltimore area and studied modern history at the University of Maryland, College Park. Before joining TRNN, he contributed print, radio, and TV reports to Free Speech Radio News, Democracy Now! and The Indypendent. Jaisal's mother has taught in the Baltimore City Public School system for the past 25 years. Follow him on Twitter @jaisalnoor.

Joshua Komer

Joshua Komer is a freelance multimedia journalist in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area. His work has been featured in a range of outlets, including The Charlotte Observer, The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, and The Herald-Sun (Durham, North Carolina).