Five years ago this time, I was in Los Angeles trying to figure out what my life was going to look like after I finished school. To that point, I had spent four years as a journalist covering urban poverty – homelessness, mental health – and was tired of the writing. I wanted to take a more active role in combatting these issues at their core, so I applied for a teaching job in the place I knew I could make the biggest impact – back home, here in North Carolina.
I’m humbled, I’m grateful for the recognition – but this work never ends. Every morning, I get up and go to work at a school, designed to be racially segregated, with 100 homeless kids and a 95% poverty rate.
Each Thursday, I head to the Men’s Shelter, where 200+ men nightly, many good, hard-working people, face the indignity of being homeless.
Our kids, our neighbors – they deserve better than that. I firmly believe that our community can’t be successful until all of our members have access to quality education, livable wages, and adequate housing. And there’s nothing I want more than for our community to be successful – that’s why I do what I do.