Summer Reflections: Daniel Irvin

This summer I have been able to be a part of many different experiences. Each week has brought different projects and different challenges. From these projects and challenges I have learned a lot about myself, North Carolina, and working in the political world. One of the most important things that I have learned while working this summer is the importance of making personal connections in organizing. Organizing rests upon the principle that there is strength in numbers, that communities and people can affect change through their unified voices. But for that unification does not occur on its own, just because people might share similar problems or values. You must work to connect people and communities with each other, and the only way to do so is to actually go to people and connect with them yourself. As you make more and more connections, you get to know the community better and you become better plugged-in as to what is going on in the community and what everyone’s concerns are. Furthermore, people are going to be more likely to collaborate with someone they know—as opposed to a stranger—and you will be able to use their social networks and connections to further grow your organization. From my one-on-meetings and community events this summer, I have been able to see how it is so important for organizers to be grounded in the community they work in.

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W-S Rally
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Tarboro Rule Making Hearing
4New Bern Film Screening

            My proudest moments during this summer were when my team would achieve one of our goals. At the beginning of the summer, when I was thinking about how to achieve our goals, I made some rough plans on how to tackle each goal. Not all of these plans worked out. Some of the organizations that I wanted to partner with turned out to not be useful. But through organization and persistence we were able to knock out each goal one by one. When we would achieve each goal, I enjoyed looking back at all of the steps that we took to get there—both successful and unsuccessful—and all of the work in the community that each successful goal represented. As I finish up this internship, I hope that I will be able to take the lessons I have learned to all my future experiences. Whatever kind of job or career I end up, I will carry with me the importance of orienting my work to help build stronger communities. This means trying to ensure that programs and policies are designed to intentionally promote collaboration across lines within communities. I will also carry with me Democracy NC’s focus on working on all aspects of the political process. From researching policies, to advocacy, to lobbying in the halls of power, to organizing across the state, Democracy NC has shown me how to tie all of these disparate tools into an effective organization. As I finish up my last year of college and start my career, I hope that I will be able to find an organization that does as effective work as Democracy NC.

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