May 16 Strike Behind The Scenes: Some Protesters Paid up to $500 to Protest

We've all read articles or have seen videos from various protests around the country from time to time accompanied by evidence or claims that protesters were paid to be there -a practice often called 'astroturfing'.

May 16 Teachers Protest

We've all read articles or have seen videos from various protests around the country from time to time accompanied by evidence or claims that protesters were paid to be there -a practice often called 'astroturfing'.

For the most part, labor unions are most often cited as engaging in these types of practices. Here's an example from 2014, where the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) engaged in just such behavior.

While that protest took place in New York several years ago, last month an estimated 19,000 North Carolina teachers showed up in Raleigh to participate in an illegal strike orchestrated by the NEA teacher's union affiliate, the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE).

Were some of those protesters paid or compensated for being there?

The answer is yes – and by a far-Left non-profit operating out of Durham.

Meet the Southern Vision Alliance, a 501(c)3 forbidden from engaging in political activity which offered “grants” to teachers to “cover the costs” of going to Raleigh to protest.

Southern Vision Alliance - Jillian Johnson

According to IRS tax documentation, in 2016 the Southern Vision Alliance's Gross Receipts totaled $1,033,692.  Some of their more notable high dollar donors include the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Democracy NC, and David Brock's Center for American Progress.

Paperwork with the North Carolina Secretary of State show that their organization was registered to progressive Democrat Durham Councilwoman, Jillian Johnson, and their leadership includes Elena Everett, who also sits on the board of the far Left partisan attack machine, Blueprint NC.

The grants being offered by Southern Vision were “up to $500.00” according to the website and the Southern Vision Alliance website.

The site was set up on April 22nd and is run by the Southern Vision Alliance as part of the “May 16 coalition” with the NCAE and its “Social Justice Caucus” called “Organize 2020.”

The Southern Vision Alliance describes itself as “a ‘grassroots intermediary’ organized to provide infrastructure, capacity-building, coaching and technical assistance to groups and projects led by directly-impacted communities, with a special emphasis on youth-led and youth-centered programs.”

The description of what they do includes “leadership development, organizing, and base-building programs with a pro-democracy agenda that work for social, racial, economic, gender, education, LGBTQ and environmental justice, in the US South.”

The Southern Vision Alliance has several different offshoot programs, one of which is the “The Community Rapid Response Fund.”
It was this fund that advertised the $500 grants on their Facebook page:

SVA_Rapid_Response_Network_FB_Page_Graphic.pngDear North Carolina teachers and supporting community members,

Thank you for all your hard work every day in our public schools and your powerful organizing efforts for May 16th! Are you still trying to figure out how to cover costs for the May 16 day of advocacy? The Community Rapid Response Fund distributes mini-grants for up to $500 to aid grassroots organizing that is in response to acts of hate and regressive state policies. Teachers across the state can apply to the fund to receive money to cover the costs of food, transportation, childcare, and materials.

To apply, go to The use of funds must be 501(c)3 compliant. Please email with any questions about the fund! #Red4Ed #May16 #ItsPersonal

It's relevant to note here that the contact for these “grants” is Juan Miranda who has been involved in the labor union campaign seeking to force a higher minimum wage called “Fight for $15.”  The SEIU has dumped around $20 million dollars into astroturfing Fight for $15 protests.

A second offshoot of Southern Vision Alliance also participated in gathering “donations” to pay teachers to protest in Raleigh.
A group called “Community Alliance for Public Education (CAPE)” offered a list of what would become of the money collected on behalf of the Southern Vision Alliance:

BUS people to Raleigh the 16th

ORGANIZE parents, educators and students

SUPPORT participants with food, water, and medical supplies

SUSTAIN organizing and advocacy work. May 16 is an important moment, and we need to carry our momentum forward into the summer and fall.

So how do we know these grants were really made? 

A teacher applied for one of the grants, received a check for $500 and provided Resolute Free Press with a copy of both the check and the application – which was beyond vague.

We have removed information from the image below to safeguard the identity of this teacher.

Southern Vision Alliance - Paid Protesters - redacted teacher check

That’s right - paid to protest. Seeing is believing.

Resolute Free Press