Contribute to Heartland Rising

The American Heartland keeps getting pummeled. In the 1980’s, agricultural corporations and commodity speculators made billions destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of family farmers. In the 1990’s, manufacturing corporations scored record profits by shuttering tens of thousands of factories and relocating their production centers to countries where work came cheaper. In the 2000’s, predatory Wall Street banks making garbage loans created a housing bubble so big it plunged the world into the worst economy since the Great Depression. 

The effects are everywhere you look. Vacant factories and idle machinery erode beneath cobwebs and vines. Prime retail corridors in small towns are pockmarked by boarded-up storefronts. Farmers are forced to sell their crops to multinational conglomerates and gigantic feed lots for dirt cheap. An unprecedented overdose crisis devastates family after family in every community. And all of this fuels the growth of a militant ultra-right political movement that threatens immigrants, people of color, women, LGBTQ+ people, religious minorities, and more.

It’s no wonder some people leave. Millions of heartland natives, especially highly educated ones, migrate to big coastal cities, seeking economic opportunity, cultural diversity, and political progressivism. However, many transplants find that these advantages come with an emotional cost: alienation from deep community in their chosen homes, discomfort with participating in gentrification, and sorrow about leaving loved ones behind in a political landscape they barely recognize.

It’s also no wonder some people fight back. Across the heartland, there are groups of everyday people joining together with each other to stand up to the billionaire bullies destroying their homes and states. In small towns and rural communities, pockets of ordinary people are putting forward a vision for themselves, their families, their communities, and their states, based on freedom, dignity, and democracy. They remember a time when the heartland’s natural beauty and hearty towns nourished healthy communities, so they understand the potential for a beautiful future.

Heartland Rising is about connecting them. We build partnerships between under-resourced rural and small town organizing initiatives in the heartland and “homestate associations” of coastal transplants. These partnerships act as pipelines for funds, cultural and intellectual skills, and legal and communications expertise from the big urban centers to the most vital, innovative organizing projects in the interior. Reclaiming the heartland from corporate control will take building bridges, and we will start by building bridges back home.

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