2020 Fellow

Adrienne Evans

Adrienne Evans is the executive director for United Vision for Idaho, the state’s only multi-issue, progressive coalition. A sociologist and nationally recognized social justice organizer, she works on key national campaigns from healthcare, economic and tax policy, family security, immigration and other critical issues. Her background is in multi-issue movement development, strategic community organizing with a particular focus on the intersections of economic, social and racial justice.

A renown public speaker and facilitator she regularly delivers workshops and lectures across the United States. Evans is co-creator of the “Spiral of Injustice,” a tool developed in conjunction with the only Anne Frank Memorial in the U.S. as a contemporary model for understanding and dismantling systemic discrimination in community and educational outreach nationally and internationally.

In the fall of 2016, she spearheaded the most robust rural organizing campaign in Idaho using a progressive populist organizing model rooted in transformative methods to build a race conscious, working class movement, and strategic path forward for structural change. Today, it is part of the game changing rural organizing work of People’s Action Institute.

In 2018, Evans joined a cohort selected by Western States Center to take part in a revolutionary convening of forward thinking, innovative and powerful leaders to develop a shared understanding of the core traits of white nationalist movements that are gaining political power across the globe and begin to design strategies to respond effectively counter white nationalism, challenge racism, Islamophobia, and antisemitism and rebuild alliances for the future of the progressive movement. The work of UVI is creating a powerful cultural and political shift in areas of rising white supremacy and White Nationalist groups and a model for how to do this work in other rural parts of the country.

Project Description

The impermanence of our democracy is in plain view. The pace at which civil rights, social, economic and environmental justice policies have been steadily reversed and threatened must be a wakeup call that reinvestment in rural communities has profound implications. The “alt-right” have found a charismatic leader in Trump, who uses his pulpit to exploit the pain of poor and working class rural folks blaming people of color, immigrants, and foreign nations when the fact it is corporate interests that have largely created these conditions. Consequently, rural communities have increasingly become havens for White Nationalist groups.

Our initiative is designed to interrupt this process by organizing and investing in rural communities and providing an alternate social and political analysis to that dominated by the far right. We use a transformative model to win systemic change. Our lives are inextricably linked; when we come to see self-interests as shared, it provides a powerful motivator for change. Through deep canvassing people feel empowered to become part of the solution, rather than relegated to data. In towns and neighborhoods, we hold conversations about our priorities and the world we’re fighting to build. Using a people’s platform of 24 issues and values created by Idahoans, we are mapping the state by issue motivators, connecting people to each other, investing in rural communities providing leadership development and building local infrastructure to transform their communities into a force at the polls. We’re not building just for a moment, but a powerful movement that centers rural communities and creates real structural change for a future that includes all of us!