Every week will bring you a spotlight on one of our staff members. This week we highlight our Regional Field Director in Durham Jonae Wartel. We sat down with Jonae for a quick interview.
As part of our organizing method, we use our personal stories to connect with supporters and empower folks to take action so Jonae what is your personal story?
I grew up in a family that truly valued community. It's been one of the guiding principles of my life. My parents taught me that the only way to improve the world around me was to "be our bothers keeper." When I enrolled in college at The University of North Carolina Greensboro, I began pursing a degree in Political Science with a Pre-law concentration, became president of Student Government and began organizing students on my campus. It wasn't until the 2008 Primary in NC that my passion for organizing was truly ignited, I had the opportunity to volunteer to register voters and Get Out the Vote. After a successful primary and general election, I went from being unemployed to underemployed with no health benefits. It was a scary time for me, worrying about getting sick or being in an accident. It was around this same time that the President signed into law a healthcare measure that would have allowed me to remain on my parents insurance plan a year and a half longer. This gave me and thousands of other young people the liberty to pursue the work that the love. For me, it's organizing and empowering communities. I am grateful to work in a state like North Carolina and an area like the Triangle whose residents share my values and commitment to strengthening our communities.
What kind of an organizer are you? How would you describe your organizing style?
Eclectic. Just like the city of Durham. I draw on a number of different experiences and influences (culturally and socially) when relating to my volunteers and building teams.
Now for some fun stuff; what is your favorite movie?
Shawshank Redemption. Best... movie... ever!
What about your favorite song?
"Jesus, Please don't pass me by," by Fred Hammond
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one food, what would that be?
This is definitely the most important question. Why should the people of Durham come to volunteer for the campaign?
Because the people of Durham and the people of North Carolina need us even more. We must protect the progress that we fought for in 2008 and 2010. The battle is not only for the Presidency, the battle is for our communities and for our families. Besides, I don't know if you've seen the alternative. It's scary.