MEET THE WOMAN ON A MISSION - TO BECOME THE FIRST BLACK PERSON TO SERVE ON ALABAMA'S PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
"The Public Service Commission’s purpose is to serve the public's interest in assuring safe, reliable, and fairly priced utilities. Its actions affect all of us. We deserve transparency and equitable service regardless of socioeconomic status. My desire to be elected Public Service Commissioner Place 1 stems from a deep passion for the lower class, under-represented, and marginalized. My hope is that by acting in the best interest of those people, we can raise the quality of life for all."
For almost 2 years I've driven across rural communities in Alabama transporting poor and elderly people to their doctors appointment. Most times they lived at least 50 miles away from their nearest specialist. I had patients in Centreville, Tuscaloosa, Brenton etc. Many of them were republicans and most of them were white. Because the drive was roughly 30 minutes we had the opportunity to have deep conversations. We talked poverty in the area, having to decide to buy groceries or pay utilities, possibly losing their healthcare. Almost every single person said that their utility bills were keeping them broke, busted and disgusted. During these drives I realized I wanted to expand my activism across the state in a more official capacity.
One lady on the campaign trail in the Blackbelt said that she lives in a trailer and her power bill was still over $800. I could relate to these stories because I too was struggling. Just 7 years ago I found myself living single, a mom and homeless. I remember during the 2008 presidential election, I drove to Birmingham to vote and to also get a recliner out of storage so Brandon and I could take turns sleeping in it. I remembered the quote, "when you take your eyes off your long term goals you enslave yourself to your immediate". One night as I lay on the floor with my arms outstretched crying out to God, I asked God to make me a difference maker and then I created my vision board. Every step I took from that day forward was in the direction of becoming a difference maker in the lives of others.
Four years later I became a business owner. I started an apartment locator service helping individuals and families find their ideal place to live. After the verdict in the Trayvon Martin trial, I became an Activist and co-founded the Black Lives Matter Birmingham Chapter. From there I joined the BLM National Movement and sat on the Strategy Table. I advocated for workers rights through the Fight for $15 and a Union, I stood in solidarity with groups like Adelante, HICA, Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice to make Birmingham a Welcoming/Sanctuary City by spearheading an online protest and writing an open letter to my mayor and city council. I spearheaded a Black Mama Bailout in Birmingham and raised $20,000 to reunite families and to bring awareness to the destructive system of money bail, pre-trial detention and mass incarceration.
I drove to Washington DC to participate in Democracy Spring's largest American civil disobedience of the 21st century with over 1300 people arrested for sitting in on the steps of the capitol to defend democracy and ensure political equality for all. (description taken from democracyspring.org).
I also worked for the Bernie Sanders 2016 Presidential Campaign as the Faith Based Coordinator. Before I was hired I was already running phone banks, watch parties, and holding meetings in my home all by myself. People on the staff came over to one of the parties they heard about on social media to see, who I was and that was able to get local press and a journalist from the Washington Post to come to her events. I don't know how they found me either but it was awesome.
More recently, I received AFL-CIO Organizing Institute Certificate of Achievement in April.
Emerge Alabama Certificate of Outstanding Commitment to Public Service and to the People of the State of Alabama in May.
And successfully completed the Association of State Democratic Committees Train the Trainer (T3) Program and the Best Practices Institute in June.
I said ALL OF THAT TO SAY, I care about the lives of others. Forty-Five percent of people in Alabama are poor or low income - a total of 2.1 million residents. I have a track record of fighting with and on behalf of poor and marginalized people. And I plan on using my experiences to make a difference on behalf of all of the people in our great state of Alabama!
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June 9, 2018