Serving in public office is one of the greatest honors available to community leaders. To be elected by the majority of your neighbors proves that you are trusted within your community, whether it be local, statewide, or federal office. The process of vying for an opportunity to serve as an elected official should be marked by transparency and truth; only putting your most vulnerable and real side to the public as a candidate. It pains me to see that my own hometown has grown a culture of "perceived perfection" - only putting our false, best foot forward.
With early voting taking place this week for Wylie City Council, I have to come forward with a painful yet true story. During my campaign for City Council in 2015, I was the target of racial and gender discrimination, not to mention the ageism I faced for running at 18 years old. I was the target of discrimination by elected officials and citizens alike. I have shared my personal stores of discrimination far and wide - never naming the people who tore me down because of my identity.
Today, I have to finally put a name to the faces behind these tormenting stories. I have to stand up to my bullies because, if I don't, they have the potential to become my next city councilmember. Steve Wright was the man who pulled me aside at a campaign even to ask me why anyone should vote for me because I am "too brown" to represent this community. Steve Wright asked me whether or not I was an "illegal immigrant", a term rejected by Latinx communities to begin with. Steve Wright was the forefront man whose racist remarks spurred me into a nationwide effort to eliminate discrimination against women of color vying for public office. Now, my hometown stands beside him, placing his yard signs across the city limits. It pains me even further to know that my current representatives support this man's character including Collin County Commissioner Cheryl Williams, Wylie Councilwoman Diane Culver, and Wylie Mayor Pro Tem Keith Stephens. But how can my neighbors, who have watched me grow up since adolescence, support an openly discriminatory figure? Though he wasn't the only person to target me during my campaign, he is the only one to attempt to run for public office, an honor as it stands.
I don't bring this information to you today as an attempt to undermine any campaign. I bring this information to impress upon the importance of voting. As a voter, it is our duty to fully investigate our elections, including the candidates. We have to be thorough in our research. We have to be cognizant of all aspects that a candidate covers, including the impassable racism. We MUST turn out to elections to prevent openly discriminatory figures from leading our establishments. We should take notice of the City of Plano, recalling a city councilman's seat because of his discriminatory remarks. How can the next generation of voters be inspired to get involved when they are led by close-minded officials? We must get out the vote.
Today, I call on you to transform the status quo for elected officials. I call on you, the voter, to represent the ideals of tolerance and acceptance by pushing discrimination and prejudice our of public office. Today, I call on you to vote.