Meet a FLIPster: Dana Carvalho

Dana, a Chatham County resident who has her own line of jewelry, has canvassed with us five times in Wake County. She especially loves it when she has conversations with people who are surprised and thrilled to learn that their district is flippable. Her history of political action goes back to her Vietnam protesting days. Today, she volunteers with a pro-choice advocacy group in addition to FLIP NC.

Here, a Q&A with Dana. And be sure to join her at one of our remaining canvasses in flippable Wake County! Last call for voter outreach!  

What has surprised you most about canvassing?

It's very uplifting! Since our goal is to encourage Democrats and left-leaning independents to vote and inform them of the power of their vote in "flippable" districts, rather than to convince or argue with Republican voters, you walk away hopeful and energized.

What's your top canvassing tip? 

Smile and be friendly.

What is really motivating you to get involved? Obviously, you want to FLIP NC, but tell us a bit about the "why."

Every day, I read something new that our current government officials are doing to hurt our environment, our democracy, and our families, most of which I have no immediate power to do anything about. Rather than wallow in despair about all of it, I decided that I had to find some things, no matter how small, that I could do to fight back.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I have been politically active since 1970, when I protested the Vietnam War. In my early 20s, I became involved the women's movement through marches and demonstrations and volunteering at one of the first rape crisis centers in the country. When my daughter was young, we got involved with local politics by choosing candidates to promote and pollster for. When I was a teacher, I participated in the Worthy Wages movement, which advocated for livable wages for preschool teachers and other traditionally low-wage workers. I've also volunteered as an advocate for HIV/AIDS-related issues. I'm currently volunteering with a pro-choice advocacy group as well.

 Dana (right) with canvassing partner Irene Skowronek

Dana (right) with canvassing partner Irene Skowronek

Other than politics, what’s a passion of yours? 

My work is my passion. I own and operate Sweetie Pie Jewelry. I make jewelry, selling mostly wholesale to boutiques, and I've recently started making custom jewelry for bridal parties and other joyous occasions. I love working with vintage materials, mixed metals, and semi-precious stones and incorporating these into meaningful jewelry pieces.

Who do you admire in politics? Why?  

I admire the women and men who work behind the scenes in order to support the candidates they believe in. My niece stayed with us while she was an organizer for Hillary Clinton's campaign, and I was shocked at the amount of work that was required. Most days she was gone by 6 a.m. and not home until midnight. All over our country, there are people who work long hours, volunteer or paid, because they believe in our democracy and in democratic ideals, and I find that inspiring. 

What would you say to someone who is feeling totally dejected by our current state of politics?

When you feel overwhelmed by the big picture, try to go back to a small focus on what small thing you can do to work towards a greater good. Then do that.

Tell us about a political moment that inspired you, whether it was a personal conversation, a speech given by a president, or a recent "blue wave" moment. 

There have been so many great speeches, great moments – it's hard to choose just one. Every single speech president Obama gave was off the charts inspirational. But I have to say it's the everyday people who believe in a better world (one that includes and values every human being) and who work in any capacity toward that goal that I find most inspirational.