Community Organizer, National Black Worker Center
Isaiah Withers is a community organizer with the National Black Worker Center (NBWC) in Raleigh, NC, and co-founder of the newly created Black Self-Defense Team. At the NBWC, he was lead organizer of the pilot program Black Voices, Black Votes 2020. The goal of the program is to demonstrate that by investing in organizing and leadership development at the local level, Black communities can be influential in key districts for the 2020 elections. He works with local Black businesses and organizations to build partnerships that will hold elected officials accountable. The program collected over 3,000 surveys through canvassing and was featured in the online magazine Scalawag. He also helped work with the NBWC program Working While Black, which interviewed Black workers and shared their experiences of racial discrimination in the workplace. He is currently working to raise awareness about the 2020 census and the historical underrepresentation of Black populations in the decennial census. Growing up in Reidsville, NC, where white supremacy and the KKK maintain an active presence, he joined and eventually became president of the local youth chapter of the North Carolina NAACP. Before joining the NBWC, he co-founded Unknown Society, a broadly inclusive group dedicated to collective liberation that included young people from Winston-Salem State, North Carolina Central, North Carolina A&T, and surrounding communities. Group members worked together with other local organizations, including NC 100, on various civic engagement and community programs.