Heather Odom, an organizer with Carolina for All and the South Carolina Coalition of Black Communities, is looking for the one person whose activism will have a domino effect on others when she’s out in the community talking about the effects of gerrymandering in Charleston, South Carolina.
“That is the person I’m going to pour into, and hope that I make even the smallest difference in their mindset,” Odom says. “Because I know that the smallest difference impacts the big picture.”
Odom became passionate about voting rights as a poll worker in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She was astounded by the confusion she saw.
“Everyone had different socioeconomic power, but it didn’t matter. At the polls everyone is the same. The only thing that unifies every person is that one vote.”
Back then, Odom never put her identity as a Black woman front and center.
“But now I wear it as a badge of honor,” she says. “I am a female Black voter in the state of South Carolina where the Black vote is definitely being suppressed, and I am part of that group of people that are fighting against suppression.”
Odom uses her background in media sales in her organizing work, and as host of “Neighbor to Neighbor” on Facebook Live, it is her mission to “make sure people know, when lines are drawn, what that means for their voting power.”
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She revels in the connections she’s making, and the aha! moments.
“I feel like we have taken something that has been talked about in the silos to this huge, massive discussion,” she says. “That gives me hope because if you say something enough or do something enough, change comes.”