Penny Rich for County Commissioner

Social Justice and Civic Engagement

On May 17, 1957 Dr. Martin Luther King delivered a speech called “Give Us the Ballot.” In this speech Dr. King advocated for voting rights for African Americans who were restricted from voting by federal and state governments. The speech highlighted the importance of voting: to maintain basic human rights; to have representation in our legislative bodies; to elect fair judges who didn’t penalize people for the color of their skin; and for the Supreme Court to uphold the 1954 landmark decision Brown vs. Board of Education.
Sixty-three years later in 2020 and we continue this fight. Since 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly has repeatedly attempted to gerrymander voting districts to minimize the votes of people of color and college students. Rev. Barber and other civil rights leaders in North Carolina have carried on the fight where Dr King left off, but the movement needs all of us. We must protect the right to vote in free and fair elections and we must exercise our right to vote in order to achieve fair representation on our governing bodies.

Pictured at Cedar Grove with Principal Pierce at the opening of a memorial wall memorializing the all black school in Orange County. 

I have and will continue to govern though a social justice lens. Every policy that comes before the board has a social justice goal attached to it, and we can do more. We need to recognize unintended and uneven consequences of our policies and be willing to amend when needed to make outcomes work for every resident in Orange County.

As County Commissioner I will continue to promote Social Justice goals:
·       Fight against voter suppression
·       Push an anti-racist message and voice opposition to hate groups
·       Ensure that all Orange County residents feel safe and have access to economic and social advancements
·       Support programs and outreach by the Partnership for Homelessness and the Family Success Alliance to identify families needing assistance with access to adequate housing, quality education, career and employment opportunities, safe neighborhoods, protection from environmental hazards, and access to government services
·       Promote community education and dialogue about racism through the Human Relation Commission

Make sure your friends and neighbors are aware that our Primary Election Day is much sooner this year, on March 3, 2020.

With gratitude,

Pictured at a ribbon-cutting for an Empowerment affordable housing project.

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