Realize that You are the Power

Thomas Hill and Spike Cohen

--- Thomas Hill, Soil and Water Supervisor candidate, Cabarrus, N.C. (Healing Our Cabarrus (

Spike Cohen, Vice Presidential candidate in 2020, activist, and devout lover of humanity, has started an organization, You are the Power (, to take the individual power that we each possess and unite people across the country to push back against forces designed to make us feel small, weak, and vulnerable.

Each one of us is unique, a miracle of statistical improbability with thoughts, opinions, feelings, and life experience that differs from every other person who has ever lived. At the same time, we are all tied together as members of the human race, with a communal bond in our shared individuality.

We are bombarded by messaging designed to make us feel anxious, powerless, afraid, and reactionary, and this is by design. The political machine that seeks to consolidate and grow the breadth and depth of its own power is fine-tuned to strip you of your individual identity. It wants you mired in the belief that your fellow human beings are your enemy, and only it can save you.

Under the constant drum beat of fear-mongering driving us further apart, we fall into the trap of focusing so intensely on hating people with whom we actually have so much in common. In doing so, we ignore abuses and misconduct by elected and appointed politicians and bureaucrats, or even defend their actions if we believe them to be on our "side."

We each have the ability to make a difference in our communities. We need only take a moment to claim that power in ourselves, and demand that those who would seek to divide and control us are no longer able to do so.

The machine is massive, though, and adept at making us feel that any attempt to stand up against it is futile. Even when we are willing to leave behind fear and anxiety and take action in service of our fellow humans, knowing where to start is difficult. Laws and regulations are intentionally complex, elected officials and the dark money that supports them play gatekeeper, and solving what ails our country is a long and difficult journey.

Spike realized the need for a non-partisan, grassroots coalition dedicated to helping those in need, that would improve our communities through direct charity and mutual aid initiatives. He created You are the Power (YATP) to address this need, its success fueled by a belief in empowering people.

YATP is a nonprofit, membership-based nonprofit network of grassroots activists, community leaders, and candidates for elected office who identify problems and work to implement solutions. While the focus is on issues at the local level, YATP has a shared social media reach of over 50 million people, and a working relationship with activists and organizations in all 50 states.

Under the aegis of Spike, YATP walks the walk. While it is a young organization, in the short time it has existed, YATP has been hard at work, defending those whose voices might otherwise go unheard in local communities around the country, and it is already logging successes:

  • Promoted and participated in regular protests that the Libertarian Party of North Carolina (LPNC) organized in defense of homeless veteran Joshua Rohrer, who was abused by police in Gastonia, NC, resulting in the death of his service dog. While the fight for justice is ongoing in this case, Spike focused broad national attention, which, along with relentless efforts from the LPNC, resulted in the successful release of the police body camera footage from the incident, despite strong pushback from the police, the city, and the district attorney. (To learn how you can help us fight for justice in this case, please visit
  • Fought the seizure of private property in Russell City, KY, where the city council tried to use eminent domain to build a parking lot where people had their homes.
  • Spearheaded a massive campaign, comprising a petition drive leading to a ballot initiative in Columbus, OH, so that voters will have the chance to end qualified immunity as part of the state ballot.
  • Informed Mississippi voters of their state's overturning of a ballot initiative to legalize medical cannabis through an aggressive statewide media campaign.

Spike brings star power and political gravitas, and garners broad and necessary attention for causes that would otherwise fade away. His selfless refusal to accept a status quo that sublimates people drives pro-human changes forged through the power of people untied in defense of the powerless.

spike talking to city council

Spike's presence at the Gastonia protests has boosted attendance at these events, with some activists traveling hundreds of miles to be there. The LPNC was able to catch up with Spike at the September 21 Gastonia City protest and ask him about YATP. He told us,

"We do best when we live in a society of mutual respect for one another, when we take the power out of the hands of those that took it from us and put it back in our hands where it always belonged. We find people who have been run over roughshod by their local governments and help organize them to get justice, like we’re doing tonight for Joshua Rohrer. We show them, their community, and the world that we can work together. We don’t have to live by the edicts of people who presume to have authority over us. We can live better lives, lives that are more prosperous, more peaceful, and happier, by working together to be more free. That's what You Are the Power is all about."

Membership ensures updates on events and ongoing activism and provides specific and actionable ways for each member to get involved. Members are integrated into the community, providing assurance of support with no concerns about being stranded in isolation against the political machine. Members can join these events, meet and forge relationships with people who have similar motivations, engage in online activism, or even organize an event in their area. For more information, details can be found at

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Third party US Senate forum

CHARLOTTE (Aug. 31) – The Mecklenburg County Libertarian Party is excited to announce that Davidson College will host a Third Party U.S. Senate Candidate Forum on Thursday, September 15, from 7 to 9 p.m. Libertarian candidate Shannon Bray and Green Party candidate Matthew Hoh will headline the event. WBT radio host Pete Kaliner will moderate.

The forum will begin at 7 p.m. with an opportunity for attendees to meet the candidates. Then Kaliner will moderate a structured debate between Shannon and Hoh from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. The candidates will take questions from the audience in the final half hour.

The event will be held on the Davidson campus in the Alvarez College Union Building, in the David & Pam Sprinkle Room on the 4th floor. Light refreshments will be provided.

Directions to Davidson. 

There is ample parking in the Baker Sports Complex Parking Lot and a short walk on Baker Street to the Alvarez Student Union, then take the elevator or stairs to the 4th floor.

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Gastonia DA ignores video evidence of a crime

RALEIGH (Aug. 23) - The Libertarian Party of North Carolina is extremely disappointed with the decision by Gastonia District Attorney Travis Page to abandon further investigation into the actions of Gastonia officers Cierra Brooks and Maurice Taylor surrounding the arrest of Joshua Rohrer on Oct.13, 2021, and the death of his service dog immediately after.

“We are further disappointed by the willingness of the Gastonia City council to consider the D.A.’s decision as final on the matter and the determination by the police department to take no meaningful disciplinary action against either officer,” said state party chair Joe Garcia.

“Nevertheless, we’re undeterred in our determination to see justice done for Joshua Rohrer. We call for the Gastonia City Council to reconsider its willingness to ignore the evidence on video from the day of the arrest,” Garcia said. “We also call for any appropriate authorities to exercise their oversight responsibilities and hold the City of Gastonia to a higher standard than acting as its own judge and jury.”

In choosing to ignore the clear video evidence from the body camera footage and instead blindly supporting the arbitrary determination made by the D.A., another public official, the city council acknowledges that the police department operates with no functional oversight.

“We’re dismayed, but unfortunately not surprised that the police department cannot hold itself accountable,” said Garcia. “We’re deeply moved by the compassion and determination of all the people who have rallied to Joshua’s cause from across the political spectrum. We promise you that we will not forget about him, and we invite anyone who believes in justice to stay with us until we see this matter resolved,” Garcia concluded.

View the raw video here.

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Small step toward Justice for Joshua

On Oct. 13, 2021, Gastonia City Police responding to a call of reported panhandling, approached Joshua Rohner, a homeless veteran struggling with PTSD. What happened during that encounter is under dispute. What is known for certain is that the police tased Sunshine, Joshua’s registered service dog, and arrested Joshua. They separated him from Sunshine, who was killed by a car while Joshua was still in custody. When Joshua got out, he wanted only to find Sunshine, and put whatever energy he had left into doing so. When he learned she'd been killed, he attempted to take his own life.  

Since the incident, Joshua has been trying to get the police bodycam footage released. A superior court judge initially denied a request, but on July 27 another judge ordered its release.

"The Libertarian Party of North Carolina is pleased that the City of Gastonia has finally released the body camera footage from the October 13, 2021, arrest of homeless Iraq war veteran Joshua Rohrer," said Joe Garcia, party chair. "This most basic level of transparency will allow public scrutiny to hold the police accountable for their treatment of the most defenseless among us. We look forward to supporting Joshua in whatever action he chooses to take next."

"While we applaud the release of the body camera footage as a positive step, we are painfully cognizant of the fact that the release of these videos required nearly 10 months of public pressure and legal wrangling," Garcia added. "We will continue to push for police accountability and broader criminal justice reform, and we look forward to working with all liberty-minded people in our relentless defense of basic human rights.  

Continue reading for background on the incident and the months-long effort to obtain justice for Joshua.

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