|Me (left) with NC Governor Roy Cooper|
My name is Christopher Chavis and I am deeply honored to have the opportunity write here and share my love of rural issues with you all. I am a native of Rowland, North Carolina, current resident of Battleboro, North Carolina, and a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. I have a bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies and Sociology (modified with Public Policy) from Dartmouth College, a Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law, and I am currently a part-time MPA candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I am focusing on Community and Economic Development as a North Carolina Public Service Fellow. In my full time work, I am a Program Officer at Single Stop, an anti-poverty non-profit, where I get to work with colleges around North Carolina to help them connect students to local resources and programs that will help them graduate and hopefully break the cycle of poverty.
I have a deep passion for addressing resource scarcity in rural communities and have pursued this interest in a variety of ways. I have interned for the governor of New Hampshire, interned for Legal Aid of North Carolina, done grassroots organizing in rural New Hampshire and North Carolina, and worked as a disability rights advocate in rural Maine. I have written papers on the shortage of rural lawyers, both broadly and focusing on Indian Country. I have worked with classmates to do an economic analysis of a former mill town in New Hampshire, analyzed funding disparities and the resulting achievement gap between rural and metropolitan school districts, studied the correlation between rurality (and parental income) and college achievement, and even worked with a group to analyze how Alaskan villages can address water scarcity. Through my MPA program, I am currently working on a quantitative analysis of the rural lawyer shortage.
This issue is also personal to me. I grew up in an impoverished rural community in Southeastern North Carolina and was the first in my family to not only attend college but also graduate high school. I grew up experiencing the results of the resource gap that many rural communities face and that drives my passion for addressing it.
Prior to this, I wrote a blog for the Bangor Daily News in Maine where I also focused on rural issues. My research and writing are heavily focused on New England, Appalachia and the Southeastern United States.
Aside from my passion for addressing rural poverty, I am also a huge Boston Red Sox fan, a passion that I picked up in college. Despite growing up in a coastal Southern region, I also feel most at home in the mountains and feel that there is nothing more relaxing than a calming drive through the Northern New England countryside.