Building Multi-Racial Power (and Winning!) in Rural Communities

Building Multi-Racial Power (and Winning!) in Rural Communities

Session Type(s): Panel, Streamed Session

Starts: Friday, Jul. 14 10:30 AM (Central)

Ends: Friday, Jul. 14 11:30 AM (Central)

Room: Continental C

When many progressive leaders hear the phrase “rural organizing,” they imagine conservative white farmers. That is, at best, an incomplete picture that limits our ability to see the kind of progress we can make if we invest and organize. In reality, rural America is only slightly less diverse than urban America. And that gap continues to close as new immigration transforms many rural communities. In every region of the country, rural organizing includes working in communities that have a majority of Black, Indigenous, Latino or Asian residents. And in every region of the country, rural voters can play an important role in building the multi-racial majorities we need to build power, win elections and create change.


Michael Chameides


Michael is Rural Democracy Initiative’s Communications Director and supports a rural network to engage communities and advocate for meaningful policy. As an elected official in rural Columbia County, NY, he led effective initiatives for immigrant safety, affordable housing, and public transit. As the previous chair of his local Democratic committee, he realigned the progressive coalition, helping to elect Black, Bangladeshi, and antiracist white leaders and Hudson, NY’s first Black mayor.

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Celina Culver


Celina Culver is the Eastern Kentucky Field Organizer at Showing Up for Racial Justice, where she is building a local organization called the Kentucky People’s Union. Before SURJ, she learned how to organize as a staff organizer with her movement family at Voice of Westmoreland and Pennsylvania United, a multi-racial, grassroots member-led organization building power throughout Western PA.

Danny Diaz


Daniel Diaz is the Program Manager of the Rural Youth Voter Fund, a project of Rural Democracy Initiative. Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, much of Danny’s organizing and advocacy work has focused on the Texas-Mexico border, where he previously served as the Director of Organizing at LUPE (La Union Del Pueblo Entero). At LUPE, Danny led a team of organizers who won millions in drainage and housing improvements, organized working class immigrant families for fair immigration policies, and helped build a training pipeline for future leaders. Danny also has a background in electoral campaigns, managing and advising congressional and state senatorial campaigns in South Texas.

W. Mondale Robinson


W. Mondale grew up—one of thirteen children—in an environment riddled with all the norms of poverty, for a Southern Black family. That vantage point gave him a front row seat to all that plagues the oppressed and underserved in our nation, and it would eventually be at the root of all of his work. At an early age, W. Mondale began seeking answers to accepted social constructs, he quickly saw the need to challenge those flawed ideas and he took the path of solution architect. After graduating from high school he joined the United States Marine Corps. W. Mondale Robinson realized that joining the Corps was admirable, but quickly learned that it was not a mechanism for social change. With this in mind, he entered into the world of politics.

W. Mondale Robinson was the founder of The C. Institute which was a NGO concerned with equitable governance and inter-social treatment for persons of African descent, in countries where they are a minority population. W. Mondale is also the Founding Principal of Black Male Voters Project, the first and only national organization with a sole purpose of increasing Black men’s participation in electoral politics. He is also the creator of the BMEP Additory Approach© , an award winning, cultural competent political program, that’s responsible for increasing Black men’s participation in more than 21 states. He is also the CEO of WMR Consulting Firm. W. Mondale has worked on more than 160 campaigns (local, statewide, federal, and international).

W. Mondale Robinson is also the mayor of his hometown, Enfield NC where he defeated an incumbent by more than 53% points, to become the youngest mayor in the town’s history. He founded and led #ALLACTION which was an online organizing group that specialized in tech-community organizing, training for successful civil disobedience actions, and strategic advocacy planning.

He has appeared on national television news stations such as: Democracy Now, Al-Jazeera, NPR, ABC, MSNBC, and CNN, RT Germany, TYT, Australian Public Broadcasting and in most national written press. He has political and cultural columns on The Village Celebration a publication that focus on Black lives. Mondale is also one half of the team for Clickbaity: Political ThirstTrap, a raw political podcast.

Other sessions: Screening and Q&A: Enfield: What is Inherited

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