My love for politics began at age 11. At that time, there was a major push for healthcare reform and my parents were covering medical expenses for my two autistic brothers. Fortunately, my father had a job, which provided my family with coverage, but I couldn’t help but wonder how other families in similar situations were getting by without health insurance. At the age of 12, I was presented with the chance to voice my support for healthcare reform/Affordable Care Act at a rally sponsored by Organizing for Action and jumped at the opportunity. This event coupled with the support of my mother empowered me to pursue my passion in politics and become an advocate for social change.
I continued my political involvement with the Chatham County Democratic Party under the guidance of Karl Kachergis. As a volunteer, I immediately noticed the need for more youth involvement in local politics. With the help of my mother, I founded the Chatham County and Chapel Hill Teen Democrats club. One of the club’s greatest accomplishments was hosting the Get-Out-The-Vote Walk-A-Thon. Later that year, I won the Chatham County United Way Outstanding Volunteerism Award. I was also elected, thanks to the help and support of Ms. Veleria Levy, as the first Vice President of The North Carolina Association of Teen Democrats at the age of 13 making me the youngest appointed executive board member for the organization. Although this was a great accomplishment, I knew that I was capable of more.
As a member of a politically divided family, I recognized the need for and importance of political unity. Accordingly, in an effort to unite my local Democratic and Republican parties and fellow youth, I reached out to a local teen Republican leader to brainstorm ways we could collaborate on issues affecting our community. At the time, students in our town were required to earn community service hours in order to graduate. However, many of them struggled to acquire enough time due to transportation and other logistical issues. Thus, we decided to bring service opportunities to the students. We worked together with Democracy NC to create a non-partisan organization called Jump 2 Vote. Jump 2 Vote allowed students to register and, at the time, pre-register voters at high school football games in exchange for community service letters from Democracy NC. During Citizens Awareness Voter Registration month alone the club registered/pre-registered 273 voters.
During my first year of college at my previous institution, North Carolina A&T State University, I attempted but failed, due to unfortunate circumstances, to start a College Democrats chapter and ran for class president. I was also elected as Director of Development for College Democrats of North Carolina. At that time, I was the only executive board member from a Historically Black College/University (HBCU). In addition, I interned with the Bruce Davis for US Congress campaign. My role with the campaign was to connect with local youth and help the campaign launch their Turn Up the Vote tour led by Ervin Johnson.
The summer before transferring into NC State, I was selected to attend the prestigious Young Democrats of America’s College Leadership Academy. Shortly after that trip, I was named as the College Democrats of America Black Caucus Vice Chair making me the only woman on the Black Caucus board at the time. In
this position, I worked closely with the caucus chairperson, John Easterling, and secretary, Daqavise Winston, to expand the member base of the caucus. Later that summer, I interned with the Deborah Ross campaign where I served as its only political affairs intern under the Political Director, La’Tanata McCrimmon. This experience provided me with valuable hands on experience planning political events, rallies, and drives. I was also instrumental in planning the College Democrats of North Carolina’s annual Blue Brunch, a fundraiser that focuses on party unity.
In summer 2017, I was selected to represent the Black Caucus at the DNC’s summer Resistance Training. Last fall, I was also appointed National Director of Membership for College Democrats of America (CDA), which was a dream come true. I am currently only halfway through my term with CDA but have already made major strides. My four amazing chartering directors and I have been able to charter seven new states under the national federation. We have also greatly improved HBCU Outreach. With the help of the HBCU Outreach Director, MaryPat Hector, my administration has been able to expand CDA onto several HBCU campuses. Furthermore, I am currently working alongside Chartering Director, Kristoffer Rixon, on implementing College Democrats on campuses abroad this semester.
As a junior political science major, active member of the NC State College Democrats, and spring 2018 initiate into the Mu Omicron Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., I want to remind my PS peers that change will never come by sitting on the sidelines. I encourage students to act if they see a problem or something that needs to change. I also recommend finding mentors, supporters, and like-minded people that can help you reach your goals because it is hard to invoke positive change without a support base. You’ll notice that I intentionally listed people in my support group throughout this piece because without their help many of my accomplishments wouldn’t have been possible. My story began by standing up for healthcare reform. Where will yours begin?
My motto: “You can pray until you faint, but unless you get up and try to do something, God is not going to put it in your lap.”- Fannie Lou Hamer