The Carpet Bagger's Journal — moving from NYC to Mississippi

August 12, 2012

Dixie Cool for a Cause

Filed under: Southern blog posts,Uncategorized — annebabson @ 8:01 am


Years ago, before the not-for-profits all moved to outer Boroughs, Union Square and the surrounding area in NYC was the best place to find someone willing to chain himself or herself to government property in the name of a progressive cause.

Today, in Jackson, Mississippi, there is such an enclave of brave souls. Need a lawyer to work for immigrant rights? Want to defeat a corrupt hegemony? Go to North Congress Street, just off the State Supreme Court steps, and you will find your co-conspirators against the forces of darkness. Unions, the ACLU, Organizing for America — they are all occupying cute little ramshackle houses all in a row, now converted into office space.

The South likes the Fraternity model of organization. Instead of getting you to sign the petition, carry a sign on a picket line, more often than not, they would rather you would join. Pledging here on North Congress Street is perhaps the opposite, though, of pledging Chi-O at Ole Miss. There, there are mixers, formals, rush week rivalries. Here, the only thing to do is work hard thanklessly for causes mostly Republican districts abhor — enfranchising the poor, riling minority voters into action, giving uppity women a forum, challenging business as usual in all it’s forms.

Your new best friend works here, only you have not met him or her yet. He or she gets in early, stays late, and barely makes enough at this job to gas up the car between commutes. Your new best friend works here. On the walls of his or her office is a poster with a slogan that brings tears to your eyes. He or she pledges allegiance to that idea every day. The only way you’ll meet this new best friend of yours is to volunteer to help. So knock on the door. Don’t be surprised if no one hears you at first; they are so overwhelmed with tasks, and the phone is ringing off the hook. Knock again. Pledge the sorority of a better world. It is rush week right now.

1 Comment »

  1. I think it’s time for you to leave the south and head back to New York!

    Comment by Dee Graham — January 14, 2013 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

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