Poteete Family Bounce Back

Poteete Family Bounce Back

From AC Poteete

My family is facing eviction after I wrongfully lost my job. Asking for a hand up to allow my family to keep their home while I get back on my feet. Any and all help is appreciated. Thank you.

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My name is AC Poteete and I am a 32-year-old husband and father of two living in the Greater Birmingham, Alabama area. I spent the first half of 2019 fighting cancer. After achieving remission, I became active in my community, volunteering my time to mutual aid projects, labor organizing campaigns, and demonstrations against social ills. In the winter of 2020 I was blessed with the opportunity to work full time as a disability advocate. I'm proud to have been able to do truly impactful work before changes in leadership changed my life far beyond the confines of my work. When a large portion of the organization I was working for felt that the Board of Directors were steering the organization away from its true mission and purpose, many of us were victims of retaliation. Some left, some were fired, and I managed to hang on by the skin of my teeth, hoping to continue the work that we had been doing up to that point, even if I was the only one left there doing that work.

I have a 10-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter who have shared a bedroom their entire lives. Since they're approaching puberty, we found it necessary to move into a larger, more expensive rental that allows them their own bedrooms. We did this in March of last year, and in order to afford the higher rent, I had to take on side work. I mistakenly shared this information with my full-time employer, who then mandated unnecessary changes to the working conditions I had maintained since my hiring that I could not accommodate, attempted to criticize my performance when I could prove that I was on track with, or even performing better than, my co-workers, and then continued to gaslight and demoralize me until finally terminating me from my position in June.

With no degree, no other paid work experience in the field, and no time to spare, I made a swift return to the work I did for a decade before getting sick - manual labor. I took a temporary position assembling car parts overnight. The work was inconsistent and the schedule prevented me from ever seeing my family. Nonetheless, I worked the position until it dematerialized around Christmas time.

I'm fortunate that my wife is currently finding her footing in a promising new career. I have a friend that's able to provide some farm and construction work here and there, and I'm happy to say that thanks to some encouraging friends that believe in me, I have a prospect to get back into disability organizing work. I'm actively seeking more ways to get back on my feet. I just need time.

Unfortunately, I don't have it. Our landlord taped an eviction notice to our door on Valentine's Day. We're several months behind on rent, and facing a lot of other financial burdens at the moment that are preventing us from getting assistance from financial institutions. Truth is, I should have reached out for help a long time ago. I’ve never been one to be embarrassed or ashamed of my situation or asking for help. In all honesty, I’ve been so hesitant to ask my community for help because I know that I haven’t been showing up for them the way I would like to for the past year or so, as I’ve tried to navigate all of these changes alone and in silence. I wanted to believe that I was strong enough to figure it out alone. But I’m not. And it’s time to put shame or embarrassment, pride or the lack thereof, or whatever this is aside and ask for the help that I need. I want to get back to a space where I can show up for my community the way I know I should be. But I’m going to need help getting there. And I appreciate any and all that any of you can offer. Thank you.

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