Ever wondered what an organizer does?

You'€™re not alone. Growing up, none of the adults in my life were organizers. In college, no one majors in €œ"organizing." I sometimes still struggle myself to explain to relatives at Thanksgiving or friends over coffee what I do for a living as "Eastern NC Organizer."€ And yet organizing is an incredibly important part of building grassroots power in our democracy. My hope is that through contributions to this blog I can share glimpses into the world of organizing and the issues facing Democracy North Carolina and our state. I'€™ll start by sharing about my past few days on the job!
Many here will know exactly what I mean when I say organizer, but I wrote this day of a life in an organizer more for a lay audience. I'm sure some of you can commiserate in the struggles of explaining to friends and family that organizing is a real job, and in explaining what it means. Though I've been blogging on political sites for years, this was my first go at blogging on the job. Here's another snippet:
For a lot of folks, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a day off work, but in the world of organizing it'€™s an exciting and busy time when people's interest in civic engagement is peaked. This year, MLK Day presented two great opportunities for me to organize against the insane influence wealthy corporate interests have over our state and democracy: 1) Making sure people's voices from across the region are heard at a Progress Energy rate hike hearing in Snow Hill next month and 2) building support for an effort to get the Rocky Mount City Council to join with many other cities across NC and the US in passing a resolution opposing the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling.

With the role money in politics has been playing in our lives both statewide and locally, I thought I would share this here. I recognize it isn't super Orange County specific, beyond being about the day job of an Orange County resident, but when folks like Art Pope have gained a great deal of control over the statewide budget and increasing control over the university system, the effect of big money in politics will definitely be felt here in Chapel Hill and at UNC.  Not to mention the Duke Energy Progress rate hike hearings happening all over.

It's kind of nice to know we're not an island of progressivism here in Orange County; there are folks organizing all across the state.  More content, and more pictures if you click over! And feel free to share your stories of explaining organizing and political work or volunteering to people in your life!

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HKonJ

Rallying people for HKonJ was another big part of MLK weekend, and something I know a lot of folks locally will attend as well as from all over the state.The General Assembly reconvenes in 2 days, and the HKonJ march and rally in Raleigh is a little over a week after that.  A great chance to take a stand against voter suppression and for many other progressive issues to start the term off right.http://hkonj.com/ 

"McCrory wants to revamp higher ed funding, takes aim at UNC"

Speaking of "the effect of big money in politics will definitely be felt here in Chapel Hill and at UNC" ...http://m.newsobserver.com/observer/db_97301/contentdetail.htm?contentgui... 

"Gov. Pat McCrory said he would propose legislation to overhaul the way higher education is funded in North Carolina, putting the emphasis on job creation not liberal arts and taking specific aim at the state's flagship university."I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs," McCrory told conservative talk show host Bill Bennett" 

"UNC Gender Studies chair responses to McCrory"

I thought this was a well said response to McCrory's remarks.  I don't want to copy and paste the full statement, but I like that it explained both the vocational value, but also implied the broader value of the program.http://www2.nbc17.com/news/2013/jan/29/unc-gender-studies-chair-response...

Contrary to Governor McCrory’s assertion about the lack of job-skills training in programs such as ours, because of our solid and rigorous interdisciplinary program our graduates are well-prepared to work in many fields and indeed, according to feedback from our alumni, find jobs in public health, education, law, public policy, business, social work, NGO work, and banking.

 http://www2.nbc17.com/news/2013/jan/29/unc-system-president-ross-respond...

“The University’s value to North Carolina should not be measured by jobs filled alone.  Our three-part mission of teaching, research, and public service requires that we prepare students with the talent and abilities to succeed in the workforce, because talent will be the key to economic growth.

It also referenced preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow that haven't even been invented yet.  That takes a well-rounded education with solid critical thinking skills, and often multidisciplinary studies.  How well would the research triangle be doing right now if universities in the past only turned out farmers and mill workers?