Democracy Summer 2010 Category

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A Holy Union

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Today marks the mid-third week for the Durham Team as we endeavor to make some political waves from the Triangle.  It is a great victory to have the opportunity to take the responsibilities from three separate positions (DemSum Intern, NCCU SGA Political Action Director and Debate Producer) and converge them into one.

Thus far, I’m beginning to adapt to the culture of DemNC, realizing that while VOE is the overall goal, there is and has always been careful attention paid to progressive victories in other arenas.  As we attend meetings at BluePrint NC and other progressive groups, Democracy NC is consistently hailed as the model “C3” for political grassroots progress.  Though, achievements with VOE are in the minority of praises.  This works excellent for the Durham Team, in that we shall continue to work with constituents to get a bill this session in Raleigh that expands Council of State VOE and (hopefully) local election VOE leverage, yet we can also focus on the ’10 Election Season, marrying the civic goals of DemNC with the political action steps at NC Central, in a holy union.

Now that we found the niche to put it all together, this union should last far beyond 9 weeks in the summer…even if the stipends don’t 😉

J. Alan Blackmon


"On Base"

Monday, June 14th, 2010

“As college students, we must understand that we don’t just sleep and study in Charlotte. We need to understand that we are a part of what makes our city so diverse and unique.”

                    – Brent D. Garrison, Executive Vice President 2010-2011

                    Johnson and Wales University, Charlotte Campus SGA

…and there it is. After Alannah and I contacted the six college/university Student Government Associations in Charlotte, North Carolina, that was my favorite response we received. Not only did that catch my attention, but it held me. It reminded me of poetry. Those two sentences painted the bigger picture of a Get Out To Vote effort, painted a bigger picture than just meeting requirements and timelines. I am realizing how much Alannah and I’s Can You Hear Us Now? Get Out To Vote effort can be empowering to Charlotte’s college students. It will bring the college community together, demolish the lines of division that exist.

See, I don’t know what it was about last week, but it was definitely a good week. All SGA’s in the Charlotte are showed some type of interest. And honestly, I’m surprised, but pleased. And phone banking? Last week it wasn’t bad at all. I think Alannah and I whined so hard that when it was finally time to do it, it wasn’t bad at all! Quick even. It was like three hours was nothing!

Sometimes it’s so hard to work hours and hours straight and not see any of the work that you’ve done. I’m glad last week wasn’t one of those weeks though. Our packets to send out to each college/university is almost done. We’ve had constant communication with each Student Government. Arranged to register incoming freshmen at JCSU’s Freshmen Ortientation. Helped new naturalized citizens with registering to vote. Met with Jennifer Roberts, Chairman of the County Commission. 

And even though we’re working our butts off, I’ll admit that I’m having a lot of fun at the same time. Like Alannah said, our choir is hiliarious. With her, Robert, and my tunes going 24/7, it always gives good laughs. And the stories that Robert always makes sure that he finds time to tell us, lets just say I’m going to have a WHOLE lot of memories to take with me after this summer.

Welp. Had to take a moment out to blog. Back to work I go. Be back in a few days. Hopefully I’ve kept you entertained until then.

Much love, peace, & happiness <3



Here Comes the Choir

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Yes, yes the choir is myself, Erica, and Robert. Every Monday we set our goals for the week so that each individual day we have goals that need to be met. On most days, we are so engrossed doing our own thing, usually right after our lunch break, that each of us hums a little tune. Erica hums “Little Bitty Pretty One” and I hum “In The Summertime” and Robert gets one or the other stuck in his head. This whole scenario makes Robert crazy because he just repeats the tune over and over at random intervals and following each tune is an unmistakeable “Ughhhhh!”

This second week has been extremely productive. We have heard back from all six colleges that we contacted and they are mostly on board! We are now in the process of putting together packets to send to each SGA to prepare them for our meeting in July. It is exciting to see something you thought up come into being. It makes me so proud! Erica and  I were also entrusted to attend the Homeland Security naturalization ceremony as representatives of League of Women Voters. After the ceremony, we answer any questions the new citizens might have about registering to vote, we help them fill out the form, and provide them with information on where it should be sent. We are now scheduled to attend every Wednesday at 12:30 until the end of our internship!

So after all of our complaining about phonebanking Erica and I called a TON of people this week. We finally have telephones that don’t drop calls and computers that open up call lists!! It’s amazing how much more productive that was for us. We also had the pleasure of meeting Commissioner Roberts and Jeff Doctor this week for breakfast. Actually we met with them and about twenty other people at the Original Pancake House. We invited Commissioner Roberts to speak at our July 24th event and we’re waiting to hear back on that. It was fun to be able to sit down with these important people in such a casual setting as breakfast because you get to know them a lot better.

Charlotte is booming with activity and Erica and I are always finding ourselves doing new things. I am so excited to see what this next week will bring to us!

Alannah– Charlotte


Greenville: Week 1 Cont…

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Last Friday, we were invited to Beaufort County’s NAACP Annual Banquet hosted by William Booth (Joyce’s father). Not only were we able to enjoy some delicious Southern food, but we had the opportunity to present information about Democracy NC! We also collected 19 postcards from people who support Voter Owned Elections. The banquet was our first hands on experience with how to inform people about Democracy NC and apply our public speaking skills to use. According to Shaunee, Joyce and I delivered a really good presentation which was great to hear because it was our first public speaking engagement.

Our second week is off to a wonderful start. Joyce and I went to the high schools in Pitt and Beaufort County and discussed ways to education 16 and 17 year-olds about the new early registration law. We were met with disappointing news when we were informed that Beaufort County did not have in-class summer sessions; students take online classes. However, we were promised a spot in the Fall Semester to discuss voter registration.

We had an interesting evening on Monday when we attended the Southern Christian Leadership Conference meeting in Greenville. We were hoping to engage the SCLC in a positive and informational discussion about Democracy North Carolina. Instead we walked into a heated discussion regarding the arrest of Councilwoman Kandie Smith. It has caused uproar amongst the minority community who are accusing the officer who arrested Kandie Smith of racial profiling and calling for the resignation of the police chief. This put Joyce, Shaunee and I in an interesting position, to say the least! However, we were thankful to have Shaunee deliver a powerful message to the crowd where she tied Dem NC’s overall message of good government to the current situation with Kandie Smith and the police chief. Our presentations and one-on-one meetings have definitely paved the road for us to continue our work and build relationships with community leaders who support our organization.

Greenville Team


Greenville 1st Week

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

The first week of Dem NC for Pitt County was very interesting. We are very fortunate to have Shaunee as our field organizer. She is awesome at what she does. Tuesday started off with us finding our office and immediately starting to plan how to decorate. We brought in plants (affectionately named Clementine & Fern) , posters, office supplies and of course snacks. Our first day on the job also meant our first day of phone banking, which went pretty good. I had a couples of mistake one including Shaunee and I having a moment of confusion and I ended up hanging up on a voicemail. I called them back though. Throughout the week we had many one-on-ones with very interesting citizens. We met Ms. Pat Seibert in Washington on the waterfront. With a storm fast approaching we decided against good judgment to sit out by the water and meet.  And sure enough one by one then hundreds by hundreds by hundreds the raindrops came. We rushed to a nearby café where we were soaked some more until decided to go in and have lunch. Ms. Pat is a Dem NC Board Secretary and a committed activist in Washington NC. She fittingly was wearing a “Stop bitching and Start a Revolution” t-shirt, right away I knew we would all get along great. We spoke of her past in activism and organizing in Eastern NC. Ms. Seibert also gave us advice about Lobby Day and how to interact with our lovely legislators. She was a great person to meet and had much wisdom to share. Also last week we meet Mr. John Comer, a representative of People of Faith against the Death Penalty, he was advocating reducing the death penalty and eventually doing away with it all together. We had a “heated” conversation outside about the conditions and the way politics is affecting the minority citizens here. It wasn’t exactly “heated” it was just 98.9 degrees outside and we, excluding Shaunee, were literally melting under the sun. But overall it was a very good meeting and we made a promising contact. We also met Pastor Coles who is heavily involved in the Greenville community, his organization Church Outreach Network deals with homelessness and resolving issues plaguing Pitt County by  reaching citizens through the help of Christ.

Overall the first week was a great start to the summer. We are still just as busy this week and enjoying each other’s company along the way     

                            Go Dem NC Summer 2010! Greenville Team Rocks!



1/3 of Greenville Dem NC Summer 2010   


First Week Winston-Salem

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

This first week has been all I hoped for and more. Working with politics has always been my dream and now it’s happening. With great advising from Ms. Sutton and our other Democracy NC mentors I know we will be fine. The Winston-Salem team is off to a good start. This week Sean Maxwell and I met with local elected Officials, community leaders and activists. We discussed (VOE) Voter Owned Elections and received immense support for Lobby Day. There were many lessons taught and learned.

One of the most interesting parts of this internship is seeing the looks on people’s faces when they believe they have made a difference. It gives validation to the idea of true democracy. One man equals one vote. Election day is one of the only times in life that it doesn’t matter what a man’s race, ethic background, socio economic status, academic accomplishments or creed have afforded him in life.

Democracy summer has allowed me to see this process in action in a way that I have never seen it before. Its was nice blogging to you my friends but as Robert Frost would say “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep”.

Forever Mine, Forever Thine, Forever Vote

Ray Robinson

Dem Sum Winston-Salem


Week 1 in W-S

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

The Winston Mutual building rises from the parking lot and distinguishes itself from the surrounding residential areas and the shopping center to the rear. I arrived at my new work location in downtown Winston-Salem trying to remember everything I had been taught in training. The previous week, I and nine other newly hired interns from across the state met at a hotel in Durham to learn from Democracy North Carolina’s staff about the basics of organizing, state politics, and campaign reform. The three days of lectures, group exercises, and public speaking instruction had gone by in a blur. Now it was time to put everything we had learned into practice.

The past few days have been both encouraging and frustrating. My experience so far has been like the opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities… “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Well, not exactly that bad. I don’t mean to really compare the first week of Democracy Summer to starvation and poverty combined with the excesses of the French aristocracy. But it has been surprising how one morning I can feel upbeat and positive about our efforts to organize and advocate for change but then feel exasperated a few hours later as I attempt to phone bank and only reach a handful of supporters. It certainly has been a roller coaster of a first week. Overall though, I am confident we are making some significant headway in spreading our message of Voter-Owned elections (VOE).

Our team is responsible for 16 counties in western North Carolina. This includes developed areas like Forsyth and Guilford along with more rural areas like Davie and Davidson County. We have been busy so far with our phone banking, meeting with local organizations and political groups, as well as making connections through one-on-one meeting with local leaders and community activists. Our priorities to this point are educating citizens about Voter-Owned elections and recruiting people to join us for our upcoming Lobby Day on June 22nd. We have met with representatives from the National Pan-Hellenic Council, a leadership group of area fraternities and sororities, given brief talks to Winston-Salem State University political science classes, spoken at a retreat of Progressive Democrats in Greensboro, and attended a session of the Forsyth County Board of Elections. We have scheduled legislative appointments for our Lobby Day and will be speaking at NAACP meetings in the upcoming weeks. Tonight, I will be attending a meeting of the Davidson County Democratic Women and talking about, yep you guessed it… VOE!

I can already tell I am not only receiving a civic education in grassroots organizing, but a professional education too. I am learning to be assertive, talk about complicated subjects off the cuff, and make connections with influential people in local politics. I am excited about the rest of the summer, and I know that as Ray and I learn the ropes things will go more smoothly. The roller coaster continues…



Sean Maxwell, Winston-Salem

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Sean Maxwell, Winston-Salem

Originally uploaded by democracync

Sean Maxwell is a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a native of Winston-Salem, NC. He is majoring in Political Science with a minor in History. At UNC, Sean has conducted research on presidential and White House operations for a faculty member of the Political Science Department and is currently a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honors society.

Last summer Sean was an intern in the Washington office of Congressman David Price, and this past fall he served on the Sustainable Community Visioning Task Force in Chapel Hill. The task force studied future town development and generated growth guidelines for the Chapel Hill Town Council. In the spring semester he returned to Washington and was an intern at the Department of Homeland Security’s Political Asylum division, where he performed basic research on country conditions and dissident movements. Recently, UNC’s student body president appointed Sean as one of several Town and External Relations Liaisons. In the upcoming school year, Sean will be responsible for balancing student concerns with the needs of town officials and local residents. Sean also volunteers with the Honor Flight network, a group that flies WWII veterans to Washington at no charge to visit the memorials dedicated to their sacrifices.

When not participating in civic affairs, Sean enjoys reading about current events, taking long drives while listening to music, and playing pickup basketball. He still needs lots of work on his jumpshot.


Ana Eusse, Greenville

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Ana Eusse, Greenville

Originally uploaded by democracync

Ana Eusse is a native of Englewood, New Jersey. After graduating from Dwight Morrow High School as Vice President of her class and with salutatorian awards, she enrolled in Montclair State University. While there, she decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in Sociology with a minor in Latin American Studies. As a member of the Latin American Student Organization, she was involved in community activities and events dedicated to exposing the beauties of Latino/Hispanic culture.

In May 2007, Ana was accepted into the Walt Disney World Company Student Internship, where she worked with top celebrities such as Mickey Mouse, Captain Hook, Ursula, and Simba. When one of her roommates introduced her to North Carolina, she decided to transfer to East Carolina University and become a member of the Pirate nation! In addition to attending school, she works at Barnes and Noble as a dedicated bookseller and volunteers with ALMAS, an organization dedicated to increasing bilingual skills amongst Latina women. Recently, she participated in T.R.I.P.S, a program that allowed a group of Pirate students to go to Delaplane, VA and plant over 300 trees to revitalize the ecosystem. Another important event for Ana is consistently volunteering on Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. Day. She considers him her role model. In her free time, Ana loves taking long drives into the rural areas of Eastern North Carolina and watching documentaries to expand her sociological imagination. Once she graduates from ECU, Ana has decided to join AmeriCorps and follow up with PeaceCorps.


Erica Hilton, Charlotte

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Erica Hilton, Charlotte

Originally uploaded by democracync

Erica Hilton is native of Fayetteville, NC. She is the daughter of Dr. Doreen Hilton and Col. Clarence Hilton. In Fayetteville, she attended Reid Ross Classical School where she participated in the Modern Dance Program, the Latin Junior Classical League, and Student Government Association, and was Miss Reid Ross Classical School 2006-2007.
After graduating with honors in 2007, Erica decided to further her education in Charlotte, NC where she is currently a proud “Smithite” at Johnson C. Smith University.

At JCSU, Erica loves participating in organizations such as The Black Ink Monks, Communication Arts Student Association, Community Service Committee, and is currently the SGA Student Body President. After graduation, Erica wants to earn a Masters in Communications concentrating in nonprofit/corporate communications and eventually become the Communications Director for a nonprofit organization and eventually start her own as well.


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