Will you donate to support ROAR’s mission to strengthen connections and respect among all people in our mountain communities by countering systems of oppression through education, outreach, empowerment and mutual aid?
As we enter our third year of organizing for racial and economic justice in Madison County we are excited for the many ways our work continues to grow while being nourished by the incredible support of our rural mountain community. This summer we made the decision to change our name to Rural Organizing and Resilience to better reflect the organizing we do. The switch in name is not a change in direction but an opening up of new opportunities and initiatives to build a more inclusive, equitable and resilient community in these mountains we call home. We hope our actions this past year speak for themselves:
– In May we held our first ever Black Mama’s Bailout BBQ in collaboration with Southerners on New Ground which raised over $2,000 to bail black women out of an area jail while raising awareness about institutional racism in the criminal justice system.
– Throughout the year we did outreach with our racial justice literature and “Y’all Means All” stickers at several community events including the Mars Hill Heritage Festival, Marshall Mermaid Parade, Hot Springs Trail Fest, and the Marshall Handmade Market.
– After learning of the severe lack of funding for new books at our local schools, we used a mini-grant from the Madison County Rotary Club to purchase youth books with social and racial justice themes and donated them to Brush Creek Elementary as well as the Madison Public Library system.
– In August we began a free kids book and clothing distribution that sets up once a month on the bypass alongside the YMCA’s mobile food pantry where we have been well received.
– In September ROAR organized two carloads of Madison County residents to support Johnson City’s first ever Pride festival which faced threats from one of the white supremacist groups responsible for the violence in Charlottesville last year. Along with other anti-racist activists we were able to block off the hate group with large banners so they could not harass Pride festival goers, rendering their presence ineffective.
– We were fortunate to be spared any damage from Hurricane Florence but the same cannot be said of Eastern, NC. In response we organized a hurricane relief supply drive in Madison County that yielded a very full carload of supplies to Robeson County, NC, a poor rural community whose residents are predominantly Lumbee Indian and African American. A month later we partnered with Appalachian Medical Solidarity to send a volunteer work crew to the same community to fix roofs on hurricane damaged homes that still had not received any help from FEMA or Red Cross.
– In December ROAR initiated a firewood heating assistance program to help Madison County residents having trouble affording to pay for heating oil or wood. Thanks to the generosity of landowners and firewood cutting work parties, we have already cut and delivered wood to 6 families in need. With winter only beginning we intend to host several more work parties to get wood to more households having trouble heating their homes
In addition to continuing these mutual aid programs, we are excited to launch two new initiatives in 2019:
– We are starting a free monthly community meal to address food insecurity in our county. This will be a potluck style community supper for folks of all walks of life to come together and share food and build community, with the goal of addressing hunger while breaking down the traditional charity dynamic in which there are separate givers and receivers.
– We are also excited to be working with the Madison County Public schools to send a group of local teachers to Montgomery to visit the Memorial for Peace and Justice and other Civil Rights landmarks. The aim of the trip is to equip Madison County teachers with a better understanding of the legacy of racial inequality in the US and incorporate what they learn on this trip into their lesson plans for Madison County school students.
Will you donate today to support ROAR’s community organizing in Madison County? We are an all volunteer grassroots group and every dollar you give goes directly to supporting our organizing efforts. Any amount will help us continue to provide for those in need through mutual aid while continuing to organize for more just and equitable rural communities.