It has been almost a month since I made the announcement that I would be running for Asheville City Council in 2020.
Since announcing, I have received an overwhelming amount of support. I made the decision to be transparent and vulnerable throughout my campaign. One of the most disheartening things about crossing this particular political line is that many people running for office across the county do not value the collective more than they value their political career.
Making this decision means I must grapple with the many contradictions at hand. I am not a politician. I am an organizer, descendant of freedom fighters, and I am on assignment.
Asheville is not okay. For too long we have allowed performative liberal politics to take the place of actual transformation. I wish I had all of the solutions, but I don’t; nor will I pretend to have them. We are in need of leadership that won’t settle for less because they are too afraid to fight for what we deserve.
I believe that we can transform our city. I believe that we can tap into our radical imagination and implement that of which that tugs on our hearts during the midnight hour.
When I say Education Equity, what I mean is that through my work in youth development I have learned that in order for children to thrive we must serve the whole child, and we must support our educators. I will work diligently with youth, families, community members, and educational institutions to transform our local education system. I am committed to collaborating with municipalities across the state of North Carolina to fight alongside our educators to have their wages increased, additional staff capacity added to their classrooms, and smaller class sizes.
When I say Public Safety, what I mean is that we can transform public safety by investing in neighborhoods to create economic mobility, decriminalize poverty, stand up to white supremacy, and keep families together. We can invest in neighborhoods and create economic mobility by implementing participatory budgeting that will allow community members to have more control over local resources. We can follow the lead of San Francisco, California, and develop public-private partnerships to increase employment opportunities for transgender people. We must pass progressive ordinances that decriminalize marijuana possession. Investing in public spaces for our community is critical in order to create a support system that our neighbors need, such as 24-hour public bathroom access.
When I say Environmental Justice, what I mean is that we must support a municipal Green New Deal for Asheville and understand the intersection between environmental and social justice; as the climate crisis intensifies, the impacts will affect the most vulnerable among us first. We must follow the lead of cities like Jackson, Mississippi, and make a commitment to become a zero-waste city by 2030. In a city that has abundance, we can eliminate food deserts. We have the ability to invest resources into community land trusts and food cooperatives.
Come go with me!
Townsend for AVL Campaign Kickoff
Tuesday, December 3, 2019 from 7-9 p.m. at The Mothlight, 701 Haywood Rd. in West Asheville.
Connect with Nicole, hear more about the campaign, and share questions and experiences around her core campaign issues: Education Equity, Public Safety, and Environmental Justice.
Learn how you can become involved in the grassroots campaign. Donations are encouraged (to pay our people!) but not required. Join us for some light food, good music, and community building as we launch the campaign onto the next level.
Co-hosted by Asheville City Councilmember Sheneika Smith, cultural organizer Cortina Jenelle, and organizer/advocate Zeke Christopoulos.