Barbershop Conversations: F.A.D.E.
New Rural Project created its cornerstone Barbershop Conversations: F.A.D.E. (Fruitful African-American Discussions on Empowerment) series in response to low voter turnout among Black men, especially those ages 18-40. By bringing discussions on voting and community involvement to a gathering spot where many young Black men feel comfortable speaking freely, F.A.D.E. succeeds in meeting them where they are. The county-level program kicks off with three or four weekly conversations focusing on top-of-mind issues to these men, including civic engagement at the local level, entrepreneurship, jobs and wages, crime, drugs and the justice system.
By convening these conversations with intentionality and engaging local entrepreneurs and elected officials, NRP is able to highlight the power of voting; showcase community initiatives that engage and involve; and convey to participants the power they wield to become solutions to the challenges their communities face.
Beauty Salon Conversations: C.U.R.L.S.
New Rural Project created its signature women’s program which shines a light on women 18 - 40 years old to bring discussions of voting and community involvement to the one place where conversation never stops: the beauty salon.
Beauty Salon Conversations: C.U.R.L.S. (Cultivating Unified Relationships with Ladies for Success) focuses on civics at the local government level but also emphasizes topics such as entrepreneurship as well as stress management and wellness. By convening these conversations with intentionality, NRP is able to highlight the power of voting; showcase community initiatives that engage and involve; and convey to participants the power they wield to become solutions to the challenges their communities face.
Young People's Conversations
In 2020, people 18-40 years old represented 36% of registered voters in NRP’s seven focus counties, yet they represented only 29% of the total vote in 2020. In these seven counties alone, nearly 60,000 BIPOC young people did not vote. New Rural Project created “Young People’s Conversations” to determine what issues younger generations consider most relevant, identify the challenges hindering their full participation in the political process and pinpoint the most effective channels for nurturing a lifetime of civic involvement. In these conversations, we also highlight young elected officials, entrepreneurs and community leaders who are currently engaged and doing good things in their communities.
By giving younger generations the space to speak freely, we can better understand their concerns and develop strategies to ignite their passion for civic engagement. From tools for combatting disinformation to entrepreneurship through a Millennial or Gen Z lens, these conversations provide a first opportunity for future leaders to formulate informed political beliefs.
Front Porch Conversations
The easiest way to find out what’s keeping rural North Carolinians from voting is to ask them, so New Rural Project launched its Front Porch Conversations to fuel widespread voter engagement and unleash the full potential of rural North Carolina.
Front Porch Conversations are one part of our efforts to increase electoral engagement, Through the “Front Porch” series, Canvassers talk with community members at their front doors, encouraging them to share their past experiences with the electoral process and recommendations for making it more accessible. Meanwhile, NRP leverages the encounters to share local resources and information about upcoming events and deadlines.
When we ask people what will help get them to the polls, we almost always hear that voters want to know more about the candidates running for office. Partnering with local trusted community organizations (e.g., NAACP chapters, League of Women Voters chapters, Democracy Centers, Civic groups, etc.), NRP brings candidates and voters together, allowing voters to speak directly with the candidates running to represent them. Candidate Conversations can be a traditional town hall forum style, meet and greets, speed networking style, in a barbershop or beauty salon, or customized based on the needs and wants of the community. To help your community learn more about the candidates on your ballot, click HERE.
Our programmatic goals are to engage and empower rural citizens to advocate for the changes they want to see in their communities and to use the power of their voices and vote. In 2023, New Rural Project is committed to focusing our programmatic work on four main focus issues: Voting Rights, Healthcare, Public Safety and Education.
As we always say, all of our work begins and ends with listening, and our programs are a series of conversations.