This week we sat down with our Sandhills Regional Field Director Cliff Davy for an interview about his experience with life and organizing.
So Cliff, story of self is an important organizing tool that we all use to help relate to the communities we work with. Tell us your story:
February 2008 is where my deepest passion to organize started. At that time, my family was struggling with their insurance company. Before President Obama, insurance companies were able to deny coverage to those that are in need. My mother was suffering from advanced breast and brain cancer. Her doctors had to make decisions for her life based upon the level of care options that would be paid for by her insurance company. She had developed a breast tumor in 2006 and then 2 tumors in her head. After 3 unsuccessful surgeries, she passed away on Feb 24, 2008. After this happened, I had to take care of my father who had been hospitalized from the complications of congestive heart failure a few weeks earlier. He had a weak heart valve and had gained close to 150 pounds of water that his body had retained because of his illness. My Dad didn't want to seek care because he was afraid of the medical treatments driving him to bankruptcy. He was denied insurance because of a preexisting condition. My father was lying on his bed at home and knew that as an American, if he needed access to care, all he should have to do is go the hospital. So we went, and he was treated as an indigent just because he didn't have insurance. My father is a business owner and paid his fair share in taxes, but he could not imagine that he would would be treated so poorly just because he did not have insurance. These things drove me to a place where I was very angry and I had to do something to get involved. At that point I was reading "Dreams From My Father" where Barack Obama said people who are angry about something ought to organize. During the campaign I heard that while campaigning Barack Obama wanted to make access to health care available to all Americans, I was on board. From that moment in 2008, I joined the campaign. In 2009 and 2010 I became involved with Organizing for America to help pass the Recovery Act.
Wow, thank you for sharing such a personal and moving story.
Let’s talk a little more about some fun stuff.. Cliff what is your favorite movie?
(Cliff laughs) Hands down my favorite movie is "Top Gun."
Nice. What about your favorite song and what's your favorite food?
So my family is from Jamaica so my favorite food is goat curry, and I love Bob Marley. So my favorite song is "Redemption Song."
Last question Cliff, in 2008 the Sandhills area was critical to the President's victory. It is an important swing district which will take a lot of quality organizing and volunteer enthusiasm for the President to win in November. So tell us, why should the people in the Sandhills area come out to volunteer with the campaign?
The Sandhills was very instrumental in the 2008 election. We will need all of that support again in 2012 and some more. With such a slim margin in 2008, we want to expand the electorate and build an even stronger organization. People are excited to help the President they elected in 2008 and show the world that in 2008 we shouted 'Yes We Can,' but in 2012 we will should shout "Yes We Can, Do It Again!"