In honor of Black History Month, North Carolina Democratic Party Second Vice-Chair Dr. Kimberly Hardy released the following statement:
“As we welcome the month of February, a time when we typically honor the history and contributions of the African American community, it is important that we recognize and elevate the voices of Black North Carolinians.
Ballots not cast are voices not heard and issues not addressed. We must remember this because for far too long the African American community has been one of the most important voting blocs for the Democratic Party, yet in many communities, African Americans feel like nothing changes even when they do vote.
For the past 7 months, I have traveled to rural areas that are known as our predominantly black communities in the Eastern part of our state for a grassroots listening tour. I have heard directly from folks in these areas including small business owners, community leaders, and families who have been in these communities for generations. I am there to make sure that their voices and issues are heard, and they have told me that they feel taken for granted, overlooked, and disrespected. I am there on behalf of the North Carolina Democratic Party to let them know that they are respected, that we do understand their unique challenges, and to give them the resources to connect them directly with legislators, school boards, and local leaders.
The folks I meet with are our neighbors, friends, family, and they feel disconnected from the process of change. I have brought candidates to these areas who are running for statewide and local offices, including candidates running for Governor, State Supreme Court, and Attorney General to create a humanizing experience for both sides, in hopes of the candidates seeing Black voters and their communities as more than just a voting bloc, and the communities seeing these candidates as more than just political pundits.
Public service begins with going to the public. The best ideas for how to help communities you represent come from the communities you represent. These ideas are not just there to highlight and elevate during the month of February or during an election season. As we celebrate Black History Month, we must never view the contributions of the African American community as being limited to 29 days.”