This week’s organizer spotlight features Dreama Caldwell, Executive Co-Director at Down Home NC:

1) What have you learned from “falling off the bike” as a leader?

I have learned the importance of trying again after the fall, using the lessons from before to keep me from making the same mistakes. I am not afraid to own mistakes, be incorrect, admit to giving incorrect advice, or make choices that can be seen as failure. I understand that failure is just a lesson and success occurs when the lessons are applied. It is all a part of growing. It also shows courage and bravery through being vulnerable with the staff.

2) What sustains you? Where do you get the energy to keep going?

My desire to see liberation for working class, poor, black, and brown people. I find the energy to keep going by thinking of my future grandchildren I have not yet met. I want a different world for them. I also maintain healthy boundaries and I understand that rest and joy are revolutionary! For me, this means taking time away from the work to rest. Whenever I know that I have to work on a weekend, I adjust my schedule to be sure to have a day of rest to compensate. After realizing the heaviness in this work, I began to realize that joy was missing. Joy requires intentionality. So I began arranging JOY parties. So far we have held paint and sip parties, community BBQs, and, soon, kickball tournaments between different neighborhoods in my county. I am constantly looking for more ways to bring joy to the work.

3) How will you be bold in your organizing work this year?

I will be bold in my organizing by allowing others to also lead. Although I am the Co-Director, I know that we are all leaders in our own way. Great leaders create room for other leaders. I will invest in the leadership development of others and also follow. I also will be vulnerable enough to share that I do not have all the answers and welcome the thought of learning knowledge together.