Buncombe County

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Many great things have been accomplished with the Moral Freedom Summer program this summer in Asheville. What shocked me the most was how the volunteers were so extremely involved and willing to put forth as much time and effort as they could afford. I was given much respect for the work I was doing and I respected the community for being so welcoming.

               One of the most successful projects I worked on was a weekly canvass, usually on Saturdays,  that I would organize and invite volunteers out to from the volunteer list I compiled from the Mountain People’s Assembly (MPA). As far as registering folks, the canvass went about as expected, but word definitely got out that the NAACP/MPA had joined forces to inform and register folks because of the urgent need for North Carolinians to get these extremists out of office. This collective effort gained some notoriety throughout the community and was brought up at a meeting I attended. This discussion was had at United Way, and quickly evolved into a need for some sense of communication among the various organizations in Asheville so that we don’t step on each other’s feet while we are out in the community working. It was decided that I would work with United Way and Adrienne from the YWCA to create a google document with every participating organization’s information and contact person listed on it. With the help of Google docs we are hoping to unite the efforts of the activist community in Asheville to get more done, and more efficiently, than ever before.

               For Mountain Moral Monday I organized a team of about 12 volunteers , which ended up being a huge success. There we registered 73 people. What was also very impressive to me was how tirelessly these volunteers were working. When it came time for preparation, we had way more folks than expected show up two and three hours before just to ensure things were going smoothly. With such a dedicated group, as you can imagine people were also psyched to help with clean-up as well. We worked that night until 11:30 hauling materials back to the Democracy NC headquarters and the entire time one could just feel positive vibrations emanating from folks throughout the air.

               Some of the highlights of the summer consist of speaking about Mountain Moral Monday 2 and Moral Freedom Summer on the radio, registering a man who has never voted in his life, successfully organizing several canvassing events, and helping foster a sense of community among the many organizations here working for social change.

-- Zechariah Etheridge, Buncombe County MFS Organizer

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