“You know, one day you could be president of the United States? You would be the first female president, as well as the first African American president.”
Before hearing these words, I had never thought about serving as an elected official, nor had I thought about someone like me, holding such a prestigious position. The words from my fourth-grade teacher Mr. Harrison fell on me like a ton of bricks would fall on the ground, heavy and loud. The one word burdening my ten-year-old mind the most was “first.” If I, or someone who was like me, was elected into that position, I would be the first. That felt rare.
The notion of it being unexpected and not normal felt heavy—too heavy for an elementary school child to pick up.
The phrase that comes to mind here is “representation matters.” It matters not only for the people who look like them, but it matters for the people who don’t as well.
When spaces lack representation from people of color, they also lack diversity of thought and interest. When you think of the elite group of citizens elected to lead and govern our communities and nation, doesn’t it make sense they should reflect the group of citizens they are elected to serve? Shouldn’t this be the presumed norm?
For us at Progress Virginia, we think so. For us, representation is one integral way of ensuring every community member’s interests and needs are weighed with intention and understanding.
For too long, elected officials have not celebrated or represented the rich diversity found within our state and country.
That is why we are so excited for the candidates running this year, who represent the growing diversity of Virginia, and the unique, diverse needs of our community members. Check out these awesome candidates!
Nadarius’s eagerness for a better Virginia is both encouraging and inspiring. But don’t let his good looks and bow-tie fool you. Nadarius is full of innovative ideas for change and is ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work.
Nadarius Clark is a 26-year-old Hampton Roads native. Nadarius attended Virginia Union University, where he got his start in political organizing while advocating for racial justice and now he is bound and determined to disrupt the status quo in every space lucky enough to have him.
He co-founded an organization committed to faith-based activism, advocacy, and education. In 2017, he lobbied in Congress for comprehensive expansion of Medicaid and Medicare. He is one of the youngest candidates to run for House of Delegates in Virginia.
Nadarius plans on prioritizing racial justice once elected to the House of Delegates, and champions the unique needs of his community in calling for increased funding and resources for our schools, pay increases for our educators, and common sense, humane reform to our policing system. His unwavering support for and knowledge of the unique needs of his community is detailed in his vision for the 79th district of Virginia.
Nadarius gets all the buzz words. He is a mover and shaker, a go getter, high achieving, swing for the fences kind of guy. You will not lose with him on your team.
He is a powerful catalyst for change in which young people can see themselves, and more importantly their dreams for Virginia.
Need we say more?
Born and raised in Prince William County, Briana Sewell is a proud product of the county’s public school system. Briana earned her bachelor’s degree in public policy from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in public administration from American University.
Briana’s resume speaks for itself. Her strong family values rooted in her military upbringing, as well as her professional experience serving as District Director have both laid the foundations for success as a delegate.
Briana is steadfast and consistent. She is one you can count on – like your favorite auntie who is hip to all of the latest fashion trends and can recommend the best shows to binge on Netflix. You know the one who always comes through with something new and amazing you never knew you needed? Just like your favorite auntie, you can count on Briana to bring change, new ideas, energy, and good old-fashioned class.
Because she has lived and served in the community she hopes to represent, Briana understands the needs of the 51st District and plans on using the government as a force for good, to ensure her community’s needs are met.
You can learn more about Briana’s stances on her website.
Debra Gardner has devoted her life, in both a professional and personal capacity, to serving people in need and making a difference for community members in Virginia. Professionally, Debra has held leadership positions at three state agencies, dedicating hours to organizations that provide aid and services to the community. Debra also serves the community through boards and committees devoted to changing lives.
More simply put, homegirl puts the rest of us to shame.
To say she is dedicated to and involved in her community is a gross understatement.
Debra is the kind of woman who makes us all wonder how many hours are in her day? How does she find time to do all she does in the same 24 hours you and I shuffle through?
When November hits, I want to be invited to Debra’s Thanksgiving table. With over 30 years of public service, you know she will be throwing down in the House of Delegates as soon as she arrives.
She knows the needs of her community like a chef knows her speciality dish. She’s been cooking up solutions for her community for so long, how much do you wanna bet she can do it with her eyes closed? We can all find comfort in knowing Debra does not play games when it comes to putting the needs of the people first. (And all the people said ‘Amen’)
Debra’s clear, no-nonsense, community focused priorities range from COVID-19 recovery, quality education for all, public safety reform, protection of our environment, and accessible health care.
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We couldn’t be more excited about our diverse candidates who represent the ever changing diversity of our state’s community members!
Make sure you’re registered to vote to make your voice heard in this election! Early voting starts Sept. 17!