In case you missed it: “We are not afraid of better.”

If you attended the 2013 National Rural Assembly in Bethesda this June then no doubt, you remember the powerful call-to-action delivered by Kim Phinney, Director of Rural and Tribal Development for YouthBuild USA.  Her rallying cry, “We are not afraid of better” became a minor theme within the conference.

Now you can read an adaptation of Kim’s presentation in the Daily Yonder.

In her address to the 200+ participants, which included members of the Administration and Congressional staff, Kim built on Secretary Arne Duncan’s claim that “education is the civil rights issue of our day,” and urged that we must demand more of our ourselves and our institutions when it comes to providing quality education and opportunities to our rural young people.

Kim exhorted all of us to come together around a rural narrative that tells a different story about what we expect for our rural youth; “where instead of watching a youth exodus, we create opportunity for our young people; where….we demand that the relevancy of our young people to the vibrancy of our communities and the strength of our country be recognized; where we demand investment and care of our most valuable resources.”

Video clips from Kim’s address are also available here.


 Kim Phinney, the daughter of a public school teacher and principal, addresses the National Rural Assembly.
Kim Phinney, the daughter of a public school teacher and principal, addresses the National Rural Assembly. “What has me outraged is that 84.6% of rural residents don’t hold a college degree. The acid in my stomach burns with a fury of injustice that all of our children are being offered little to no expectations that they will attend college or even complete high school.” Photo by Shawn Poynter/Daily Yonder  

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