Walking and talking for social justice

By Sandy Pearce, ONE Wake Organizing Ministry

ONE Wake gave me an opportunity to walk and talk for social justice.

In August, I participated in 10,000 Strong, ONE Wake’s campaign to build community support for affordable housing funding and recruit new voters. As part of that effort, I got the chance to canvas in the Kingswood Community in Cary, spending the day walking through the neighborhood and talking to people about the issues they care about like property taxes and values, sidewalks, bus shelters and lawn maintenance.

The ten volunteers who canvassed that day were a diverse group representing five different churches.  We split into teams of two and had a script and a route. The teams canvassed the whole community in about an hour, talking to residents about their concerns regarding their property and neighborhood.  We left or gave out information on their next community meeting at Union Bethel Church on August 29.

Patricia and I were a team and quickly developed a rapport.  We had interesting conversations with two women during our canvas.  One grew up in this neighborhood, moved to New Jersey, and then moved back into the family home when her mother passed away.  She loves this neighborhood and supports some growth but wants this community to remain and not succumb to developers who are eagerly trying to buy property to build multi-family housing that she could not afford to live in.  She is there to stay and wants broken sidewalks fixed in the neighborhood.

Another woman supplements her meager income by recycling all kinds of materials. She lives in one of fourteen Habitat for Humanity houses in this community.  She is concerned about the vacant lot next to her house which is not well cared for, fearing that the trees could fall on her house.  She struggles with adequate health care. 

This experience was just what I wanted it to be, relational meetings with volunteers and residents of a neighborhood in my community that is often forgotten.  It’s on the other side of the tracks in downtown Cary. Though I am a Raleigh native and have lived in Cary for 30 years, I never knew of the existence or the history of this historically African American neighborhood.

I hope my efforts made them feel cared for and empowered to vote for change. I know they made me feel more connected to my community, and grateful for UUFR’s membership in ONE Wake.

To join UUFR’s ONE Wake Ministry Team and participate in outreach, affordable housing, and other actions: contact us at [email protected]

WE NEED YOUR HELP: ONE Wake has two important virtual public assemblies this Fall. Wake, Raleigh, and Cary officials will hear proposals for affordable housing aid and hopefully pledge their support. We’ve pledged to bring over 250 people, so your attendance matters! Click here for info and RSVP.