Senator Barack Obama had just won the North Carolina primary against Senator Hillary Clinton the week before. Senate candidate Jim Neal, whose campaign I had interned on, hoping to see the first openly gay Senator elected at a time when my love was illegal, had just lost to Kay Hagan. And most importantly, our state had finally mattered in a truly electrifying presidential primary. That's when I signed up for an account at Blue NC, on May 12th 2008. It was time to start posting on a site I had been reading and using to inform my voting and activism. It was also a time as a state and a party to use the energy from multiple campaigns to unite and push for victory behind a single one.
I'm now looking back 10 years, 200 blog entries, and countless comments later. I wrote about a lot of different subjects from voting rights, LGBTQ equality, campaign finance reform, fighting Amendment One, the environment, the Moral Monday Movement, various campaigns, legislative advocacy, organizing protests & rallies, and so much more, but one of my first blog posts to really take off was entitled a "Visual Guide to the End of Civilization" with a bunch of wedding photos from up in Boston in 2009. It was an important lesson early on that sharing about political issues through a personal story was the single most effective way to get people to care. And all the well-wishes in the comments really made Blue NC feel like a community.
From serving as Volunteer Coordinator for the Mark Kleinschmidt for Mayor Campaign in 2009, to serving as a DNC delegate in 2012, to my professional work with Democracy North Carolina, I had a lot inspiration to write about politics. I'm maybe most proud of my When We Rise post from last year that I think tells my story of self better than I've ever written it down anywhere else. The personal is political after all. But I think the main influence Blue NC had on me was in helping me connect to Democracy North Carolina.
There was a synergy in seeing Democracy NC staff at events while I was supporting a "Voter Owned Candidate" like Kleinschmidt and in seeing Democracy NC staff post here on Blue NC. In 2009 when I quit my job to seek out a Master of Public Administration degree, I did it in part because I could no longer see activism and caring about the public sphere as what I do just in my spare time. In my last semester in graduate school I had a class project for my Research Methods class to do an analysis of a program at a nonprofit or government agency I felt connected to. As a regular volunteer at Democracy North Carolina, it was the perfect choice, and I spent a semester studying how they do and how they could improve their community organizing. And later that year when they had an opening, after I finished grad school, I applied and became an Organizer and later was promoted to Volunteer & Administrative Coordinator. Thank you Steve for all those times you volunteered with me! I know our Democracy Summer interns appreciated your support too.
I've gone into it more in other blog posts, but that opportunity to work at Democracy NC let me not just practice my passions, but it helped me change the outcomes of elections, policies, court decisions, and laws and committed me to a lifetime of activism no matter where my profession or life might take me. I don't know that this would have happened without Blue NC being there to inform me when I needed to be informed, to give me an outlet to share my thoughts when I was learning to speak up, and to create that synergy that connected me at the right time to the right organization. I don't know what the future of blogging will look like, but as we approach another presidential election in a few years, I can't imagine it without Blue NC as a piece of the fabric of 2020. Thank you to everyone who makes this site possible.