Stories

Democracy/Civic Engagement

  • The Power of the Ballot Box

    The voting booth is a powerful place. Just look at how much effort has gone into keeping people away from it – and not just in the distant past. A cursory scan of recent headlines reveals various incarnations of modern-day struggles over suffrage.

    Take the Voting Rights Act (VRA), the ink on which will be 50 years dry this August. It’s been lauded as the most effective piece of civil...

  • Maureen O’Connell: SOCM’s Anti-Racism Work

    Maureen O’Connell worked at SOCM for 35 years, 16 as Executive Director. During her tenure, SOCM expanded from a five-county grassroots community organization focused on coal (Save Our Cumberland Mountains) to a statewide organization working on a host of local, statewide, regional, and national issues of environmental, social and economic justice (Statewide Organizing for Community...

  • Ashley Shelton: Multi-State Infrastructure and Redistricting

    Ashley Shelton launched the Louisiana office of One Voice, an organization created in response to housing, education, civil rights, and policy advocacy needs in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. One Voice fosters public engagement, provides access to data for policy analysis and builds alliances with partners and supporters committed to building a strong, informed electorate.

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  • Shirley Sherrod: SWGAP and Voting Rights

    Shirley and Charles Sherrod founded the Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education in 1961 to educate, engage and empower through advocacy and community organizing. SWGAP has successfully addressed school segregation, welfare rights, voter rights and education, housing, land loss, economic development and unfair policies affecting school children and families.

    After decades of...

  • Hollis Watkins: Segregated Mississippi

    A veteran of the civil rights movement, Hollis Watkins founded Southern Echo, a leadership development, education and training organization working to develop effective, accountable grassroots leadership in rural Mississippi and the surrounding region.

    Watkins and Southern Echo have been instrumental in challenging redistricting in Mississippi, protecting communities from landfills and...