Putting Down Roots

Devon For Wilmington campaign sets up shop on Cherry Avenue

At its new permanent meeting base on Cherry Avenue, the Devon for Wilmington committee and its volunteers met to discuss campaign strategy, create and schedule events, and plan field direction for the campaign. Settling into a space also used as a holistic wellness clinic, colloquially called “Dr. Z’s” by campaign volunteers, directors and volunteers collaborated to share input, ask questions, and book meet-and-greets. The group also used the time together to coordinate efforts on canvassing and messaging for the campaign.

The tone of the meeting was hopeful and convivial, as many volunteers and committee members who had been collaborating over social media on the new campaign met in person for the first time. The group was optimistic and clear-sighted about their efforts, even as the crowd outgrew the room throughout the meeting. “A good problem to have!” Mayoral candidate Devon Scott remarked. Grassroots campaigns are full of optimists. They have to be.

In attendance that night was one of Wilmington’s most reliable optimists, field director Denny Best. A familiar face in the progressive activism community and a longtime peace and human rights activist, Denny can be found at most any protest around town, a head above the crowd sporting long silver hair, a neon yellow t-shirt reading “Peace Monitor,” and maybe a feather boa, if you’re lucky. Best didn’t so much “get involved “ with the Devon Scott campaign as he willed it into existence, along with campaign director Evan Folds. “I was tired of seeing the same old batch of people run, and I know there are great people who should run if they were encouraged,” says Denny.

In his decision to encourage Devon to run, Best said that he was convinced of Devon’s viability over the course of a three hour meeting with Scott and Folds. “(Devon) understands that what is happening in this town only benefits a few select people, and the rest of us are not benefiting.  He sees what all this overdevelopment is doing to our environment and ecosystem. There has to be a better way than just clear cutting and putting up asphalt and buildings everywhere.”

Though Denny believes that Wilmington’s local government has issues with corruption and developer control, he also believes that a mayor like Devon can right the ship. As the candidate brought the evening to a close, he invited Denny to recite a familiar quote that has become a fixture at these meetings. “I’ve said it the last few times,” says Best, sheepishly, “your turn.”

Devon sighs, “I’m going to misquote it, I hate misquoting,” the candidate reasons.

“Never forget,” recites Best, without missing a beat, “that a very small group of dedicated people can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”


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