Our Story

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NATE IRVIN
Bethany, Missouri

LAURA MIKYTUCK
McKinney, Texas

I fell in love with the political process at age 13 when the kids in my neighborhood came together to prove that the spirit of American democracy is alive and well. Our town had no skate park, but we wanted one. Rather than resign ourselves to the situation, I organized a grassroots youth coalition to advocate for our cause. Too young even to vote, we exercised our right to petition the Government for a redress of our grievances. As we collected petition signatures, lobbied the city council, and talked to every community leader – our voices were heard.

That first campaign demonstrated the great power an organized community of well-meaning citizens holds in America. My hard work revealed to me both the potential, and immeasurable importance of grassroots movements. When we put our minds to it, there is no limit to what a coalition of neighbors can accomplish. Our Founding Fathers understood this fundamental truth which has carried on through generations of Americans and still thrives today.

The great democratic dialogue should not be limited to the ballot box but extended through every sector of our society.
but extended through every sector of our society. What America needs more than ever is for citizens to be engaged with their government and for government to be engaged with the people they serve.

With a camera practically glued to my face and a continuously growing sense of curiosity about people and the world, my adolescent self had it all figured out. When I grew up I would go out, see the world up close, capture it, and share its stories for the world to see.

I have found such fulfillment in immersing myself within so many communities across the country, getting to know the individuals who live there, their stories, their passion, what drives them to effect positive change within their own community. A sense of community makes you feel safe, strong, and comfortable. Each one is unique and has its own story to tell. But they take time, love, and energy to flourish.

Through Rural Progress I am working to personalize and humanize some of the largest issues affecting our country today. Using video and photography it is my most sincere hope that I can play my part in breaking down some of those barriers that divide us. I hope to engage communities in thoughtful discussion and learn from people who are different than me. I want to capture real human stories and help people across the country stand up and be heard. I hope to provide them with the knowledge and resources they need to be the most powerful version of themselves so they may fight to strengthen their own communities wherever they may be.

I am lucky to have found my partner, Nate, who shares this same outlook and perfectly compliments my skill set. We’re lucky to have found you, too. Join us, and together we will take these values into Rural Progress, win back rural communities across the nation that are struggling under ultra Right-Wing conservative leadership, and continue to work towards the progressive change we know this country deserves.



 

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