Nathan Hornes is from Missouri. He was part of the original group of 15 debt strikers from Corinthian College. A leader of the group, Nathan reflects back on his organizing experience below:
Looking back, can you talk a little bit about what you have learned as an organizer over the last few years? You could talk about what you've learned about yourself, how you have grown or struggled personally or what you learned about our political system while campaigning. : Looking back I've learned so much as far as being an organizer with Debt Collective and Everest Colleges Avengers. It has truly been some of the most rewarding moments of my life. I have learned how strong willed I am as well as how encouraging others find me to be even when I feel like I may not be the most encouraged myself. I entered the movement as a graduate of a college that was not only ripping 10s of thousands of people off but a person that was and still is determined to get justice and reilef for all. I feel like I have grown so much in the way that I view politics and our government. I'm more willing to challenge the system instead of just going along with what I'm told to do. I feel like today in this moment I'm less susceptible to scare tactics and more headstrong and ready to fight back and demand the right thing be done by our citizens. This is our AMERICA and we want what is constitutionally promised to us!
What does your family think about the organizing work you have done to help win over $600 million in relief for people across the US.? : My parents (Kimberly Hornes, Troy Sublett) are extremely proud of the work that I've done with Debt Collective. From the beginning they have made it a point to tell me to do the right thing and fight for those who felt as if they didn't have a voice. It's crazy because I don't think any of us really pay attention to the number but $600 million is a huge number. Granted that we are Trillions of dollars in debt it's still a number to be proud of and to know that we are working towards an even bigger goal is what makes it all worth it.
Please tell me about what being an leader and activist has meant to you? : I never really considered myself a "leader" in the sense that I've always been a person who values his privacy and alone time. I never thought of myself as a person to set any trends and be an inspiration or influencer to others. It wasn't until I got with my former classmates & starting meeting with students hearing their stories and putting it out there on social media that I saw how I could be a leader and inspire change. It truly means the world to me that I have been a part of any type of change or shift in someone's thinking so that they get up and fight for themselves. It has been amazing to have people tell me the work that we have done is helping them in any way big or small. I'm truly honored and privileged to be in the place that I am and I really owe it all to God and the people that have been placed in my life to help me get thus far. Debt collective has given me a platform to help grow a cause that has been near and dear to my heart & I wouldn't be the person I am today without the help of them, so thank you all! (seen and unseen).
Have you thought about how other debts that you (your family or friends) struggle with are linked? Housing, medical, education debt, payday loans etc.? : I think about other debts and how they are linked quite often. I have medical debt from a few years back thats on my credit report and I couldn't even tell you when, why, or how i got to the hospital?! I honestly feel like we as American Citizens need to get our government to come up with a better system. there are so many people that can't afford health care. we're out here living paycheck to paycheck and can't afford to pay our rent let alone a hospital bill where the ER's are understaffed and the people there are overworked and underpaid & get to a place where they're so numb they don't even want to be there themselves. Credit card debt being used to pay of other outstanding debts. Then I go into even more debt. It's all crazy.
Tell me what makes you feel strong? What inspires you? : My faith in God. My belief that no weapon formed against me shall prosper. That is what makes me feel strong. I am empowered and encouraged by my peers. I am inspired by those around me seeing their fight and push through gives me strength to carry on and continue to thrive and do the right thing.
What are qualities of others that move you or motivate you to continue to work like this? : Someone who is willing to not only tell their story and say why me but is willing to say I know it was me because I'm strong enough to fight back. Corinthian15+ as well as the ITT Tech students and the AI students as well as the U of P students have made this all worth it. When we went to San Francisco, CA & made the announcement that we planned on going on a Student Debt Strike I had no idea what it would lead to. In the process I've battled dead-end jobs, homelessness, and reports that say we're all just entitled spoiled brats. The people that we work with not letting the negative vibes and the encouragement from such powerful leaders like Maxine Waters and Elizabeth Warren has kept me going. I appreciate anyone and everyone who has given us the opportunity to tell our story and I can't wait to see what's next.