As a 501C3 encased and modeling the lived reality of Liberation – Womanist – Queer Theologists & Movement Elders, it is often difficult to attempt to sit on the sidelines of US Politics. The 2020 Election had us arriving into the fray in new ways.
We partnered with North Edgecombe High School, which is part of the Innovation Zone of Edgecombe County Public Schools feeder pattern consisting of Coker-Wimberly Elementary School, Phillips Middle School, and North Edgecombe High School.
This partnership has allowed us the privilege of joining and co-teaching a Civic Engagement and Social Action Course: providing students with the opportunity to develop critical skills that prepare them to recognize and address 21st Century Issues. Using the empathy-based human centered design model, students will be able to identify and solve existing issues in their communities. Students learn how to effectively design solutions “with” people, rather than “for” people. The invitation for FCAB to engage with this curriculum is exciting and has long been in development. It takes time, transparency and a lot of intentionality to develop the relationships needed to partner with a school system. And these have led to many conversations about the needs to teach our youth about the power (and responsibility) of their civic engagement.
In this community many families do not exercise their right to vote… and it is not surprising that children who grow up without that familial connection to voting often do not see the value and worth of casting a vote. We wanted to help get our babies excited to join the political movement, knowing that as important as a Presidential Election is, it is still more important that we vote in Local Elections!
Our time together led FCAB in intentional conversations with the school to dream of a community that was excited to see first time voters reach the polls even in the midst of a global pandemic. And who better to invite to join us in the work than SpiritHouse Inc.-NC! SpiritHouse Inc. has been modeling a behavior of expansive inclusivity of all ages that keeps the excitement brewing. Their work of cultural alchemy is EVERYTHING. Based in Durham, SpiritHouse Inc. lives into their pedagogy that place matters and influences the work of each community differently. The relocation (rehoming) of one of their tribe members to rural Eastern North Carolina has not meant that a loss of participation, but rather an opportunity to continue to expand the work to the most impacted people in our communities. Thank you SpiritHouse Inc. for believing us when we say Welcome Home!
We had big dreams of hosting a party bus to drop first time voters off at the polls and follow that up with a brunch gathering and poll night watch party, but COVID-19 regulations made that vision impossible.
So instead we revisioned what this engagement could look like. We put together FIRST TIME VOTER PARTY PACKS and met our new voters after they cast their vote! #ProtectOurLegacy
To all voters (including first time voters) here are some important things to know as you continue to listen to election news: https://trib.al/PJmFrNi
We were not alone in ensuring that the polls in Rural Eastern North Carolina were kept lively and upbeat. Thank you to ABC2 for the musical support (DJ Ill Mills was amazing!) and Birtii Family – Rev. Wayne Hines for dropping by with meals to poll workers and community leaders. This is what community looks like!