Community Members Stories

As long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed the feeling I get from helping other people. That makes doing a job as civically engaging as mine so rewarding. Some of the people I’ve gotten to help were already my family or friends and then some have become my friend after helping them get their voting rights reinstated. During the wellness check calls I could tell that it really made some people’s day to hear from someone who cared about their well-being. It often made my day to feel that sense of compassion.

W. Kelon Brown

I got involved in this field because I feel that it is important for people in our communities to see the importance of our voice being heard. Most of the people that live in my community feels like they’re opinions aren’t important. So I feel like it’s my job to educate them on how that voice can be heard. Whether it’s on a small platform or a large one. I honestly believe that once everyone in our community is educated and motivated to seek change, then we can provide the change that we desire.

Kadeem Genwright, Delco, NC

My motivation for the work that I do is to give other people opportunities to help create change. Helping someone else to reach their full potential is critical in this day and time in which we live. It is about reaching back and pulling someone up to help them to believe in themselves. My goal is to promote positive change which brings awareness to injustice everywhere. Our communities are underserved and disproportionate. As a leader, I want to create lasting relationships that will connect communities across NC and our country. By doing this it helps to close gaps and to rise above bullying in every form. “We become disabled when we allow the system to suppress our right to vote”. We cannot do this as a divided country. There is power in UNITY, we must come together so that we can be a force to be reckoned with. By this we will instill faith back into a broken system. We need leadership we can trust and trace.

Luther L. Hemby, III
Deputy State Director

I enjoy working with NCLCVF through Ground Game Innovations because of our community and school interaction with the teenage and young adult population. It’s become important for me to inform them of their voting rights. I enjoy seeing their enthusiasm and hearing all the stories on how they will effect change by voting. I have learned so much about pre-registration, Registration and VR education and Census. I enjoy working with our Delco team and our interaction with other teams within NC. Believe it or not, I am not as vocal when it comes to face to face communication or large crowds. However, this has given me more confidence to come out of my shell and speak on several very important matters. In closing, I want to say thank you for the opportunity to shape the world.

D’Angelo Walker, Delco NC

My name is Kimberly Walker and I work with the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters Foundation under the Delco office of Ground Game Innovations. When I began working with the company I had not participated much in politics, nor Civic engagement for the cause of Voter’s Registration and Education, Census, or Redistricting or anything else. I was simply used to going to the polls and casting my vote. However, this much needed work has changed and equipped me with a vast amount of knowledge and tools that has helped the people’s voices to be heard. I love what we do in communities, schools and towns; how we are able to affect change by being effective! It’s important for me to inform, and educate individuals of their rights, encouraging all that our voice matters, our votes count, and we are to be counted for! Having the opportunity to engage with others has truly been Ministry. Individuals really want to know, hear, and see one simple thing, ” I Care, We Care.” I truly believe our work unites us and as a result we become “ONE VOICE. ” A sound in which we are all dependent upon one another for change in our homes, towns, and communities. A shout that says, “Together we can do it, we must be heard, for we are, “ONE VOICE!” With this job opportunity I am able to raise the call to Voter’s Education and Registration, Gerrymandering, Census Empowerment, and Redistricting biases with the hopes of encouraging others to join the fight for what’s right. For “WE ARE ONE VOICE!” #ONEVOICE

Kimberly Walker

Canvassing for the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters Foundation during the COVID-19 pandemic has been an eye opening privilege for me. I am proud of the work our organization is conducting. It is more than just work to me, although I recognize how lucky I am to be employed at this time. My job has given me the opportunity to reach out to my community and surrounding areas, to provide assistance to them, and to engage in conversations with people I feel deserve to be heard. At the beginning of the pandemic I was unemployed due to the virus. Like most people I have spoken with, I have been affected financially, mentally, and emotionally by this pandemic. Having recently lost a loved one to the virus as well, I truly can understand and relate to many of those I am able to connect with. It is a cathartic and inspiring experience to make connections with people of various demographics and backgrounds who can relate to my experiences. I have also been humbled by the hardships faced by many across North Carolina. It is personally important to me to recognize how privileged I am at this time and be able to use my time to invest in those who may be less fortunate, and show them that someone is thinking of them. As a young person who is invested in the future of my state and my country, It has been extremely rewarding to connect with young people and receive a positive response. I believe we are the future and canvassing for NCLCVF has given me a platform to show my fellow young adults that it is important to engage civically and use our voices. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be a canvasser for NCLCVF!

Ileah Wallace, Burke County (Morganton) Office

Hi, my name is Sanja Whittington, Area Director for the Western North Carolina NCLCVF office.

I am a Native of North Carolina born and raised. From our beautiful Blue Ridge mountains to our crystal sanded shores, this is why I love calling North Carolina home. North Carolina is not only beautiful in its landscape, but with its diversity of people that also call it home.

However, massive amounts of environmental pollutants, such as: PFAS, coal ash, pipelines and hog waste threaten the natural beauty of our state, and the health and well-being of our citizens. And for this reason, I work In an effort to preserve the beauty of this great state, I work to ensure that the rights of those in our community are protected. And I work to enable their voices to be heard. There has never been a time more critical to engage our citizens in the trio of democracy, that is: the census, redistricting, and voting.

I’m excited to take part in this great effort, and I appreciate the opportunity to serve. Because We Count, We Vote, We Matter.

Sanja Whittington, WNC Area Director, Morganton NC

As a child of the sixties and seventies, I know the importance of the people’s voice, our voices.

I joined the NCLCVF team having known for a while that I was no longer content advocating from a distance. I had to be involved in a way that reaches more than those in my circle, my family, my social media contacts. It is one of my “yes” decisions that I will always be the most grateful for. I have been politically active since age 18, my activism began as I fought to ensure my daughters received the education and opportunities they deserved. I am a child of the South, my generation does not have the luxury of allowing others to speak for us.

So, I do this work for the children I raised, the families I advocated for through the healthcare system and others I have met across my adult life, like the high school janitor with a terminal illness who propelled my recycling efforts into the mission to leave the planet better for everyone.

I do this work in honor of my ancestors who worked the lands of this country and still today, people of color fight to survive, to be respected and heard.

I advocate on behalf of others for environmental justice and democracy because I want to be a part of making sure that when we say we are globally concerned, globally aware, our actions prove our intent and dedication to the work of justice and each other.

I am privileged to be a part of the efforts of NCLCVF. It is my honor to hear the stories of others in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and assist our canvassers as they resource for and listen to each community member. A favorite saying of mine is “all of us have stories and they all matter”. We are grateful people are willing to share their struggles and successes with us.

My family has experienced the pain of losing someone to the virus. Each personal experience strengthens us to empathize with someone else.

I am excited everyday about our work, I am proud to be a part of NCLCVF and am ready for the impact we will make in 2020 and beyond!

Rita Rankin, Quality Control Specialist, NC, Morganton Office

The reason why I do this work; because it’s a great opportunity to meet other people and educate them about voting. As an introvert, meeting other people has helped me to talk more. For some people, talking comes naturally but I find it useful to have everything prepared. If I am not prepared mentally with my notes, I have to calm my nerves down (relax) and take deep breaths in order to convey to others. By canvassing (phone banking) it helps me to challenge myself with communicating with others. As I challenge myself, I educate others on why it’s imperative to vote. People are making their voices heard and it’s an opportunity for people to make a change.

Flora Brooks

I enjoy working with these two civic engagement organizations because they focus on providing much needed resources such as non-partisan voter registration education and access to disenfranchised communities; primarily those of color. Many of these individuals would not otherwise receive the necessary information regarding their vital role in voting elections, locations of where to vote, and transportation to the polls when needed.

Through my participation in past Poll Parties, Voter Registration Sign-ups, 2020 Census Education, other civic engagement community awareness events, and Community Wellness Check calls sponsored by the NCLCVF and GroundGame, I’ve witnessed them make individuals (both registered and non-registered voters) feel valuable, appreciated, and vital in our nation’s Democracy.

I’m proud to be associated with these two great organizations. May their great and invaluable work continue; because ‘Every vote counts and every voice matters.

LaVonia Lewis

Dead in the middle of the Voter’s Registration initiative for 2018, North Carolina had a huge Hurricane, sending damage through many counties in this land we call home. As if that were not enough, dead in the middle of the Voter’s Registration initiative and the NC hurricane, I had a heart attack. No, I did not have any prior knowledge of heart trouble, disease or issues at all. However, full blown, 100% blockage, commonly known as the Widow Maker. 

I do this work because life is so uncertain you really never know what may happen next. This incident made me know, that you better make your voice heard, while you can. NCLCVF has given me this great opportunity and I will not waste it. Value your Voice, by casting your VOTE!!

Van Barber

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