Is it your time?
The YWCA Northeast Kansas Advocacy Committee believes in the importance of local elections, and is working to support more women and people of color running for local office. The candidate filing deadline for local elections – including city council and school board – is just around the corner on June 1. Advocacy Chair Alisha Saucedo and her fellow committee members have submitted an Op-Ed to the Topeka Capital Journal, highlighting the need for more women and people of color in local office, and other steps that local citizens can take to eliminate racism and empower women through the civic process.
Read the submitted letter:
“Institutional racism and white privilege exist. It is time, actually, past time, that these are discussed and understood, and that we undertake the necessary work of learning about our history which has been incomplete. What we do now is important. One way to move forward is to empower women and strengthen communities by increasing the gender diversity of our city councils and school boards. Gender diversity improves public trust.
This past year definitely has shown us how important local government is to our daily lives. The COVID-19 pandemic, law enforcement, and racial justice movement remind us of the importance of having local governments (i.e., county commissions, city councils, school boards, as well as civic boards and commissions) that are truly representative of all voices in our communities.
At YWCA Northeast Kansas, we believe equitable representation of women, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and minorities within the Topeka community is a necessary step towards a future free from racism, sexism, and all forms of oppression. We would like to encourage citizens of this community to step into their power and consider running for office in an effort to normalize the underrepresented in positions of influence within the Topeka area. You may find information on how to register as a candidate at: https://www.topeka.org/cityclerk/elections/ and http://www.snco.us/election/. The deadline for submission is June 01, 2021 at noon. Please consider your role as a catalyst for positive change within this community, where women, children, and people of color are seen as equal, powerful, and unstoppable.”
–Alisha Saucedo, on behalf of the YWCA Northeast Kansas Advocacy Committee
Running for Office
If you are considering running for local office, here are some helpful resources to get you started before the June 1 filing deadline.
The mission of YWCA USA partner Vote Run Lead is “to train barrier-breaking women to unleash their political power, run for office, and transform American democracy. Quite simply, we train women to run for office. And win.”
The mission of the League of Kansas Municipalities is “to strengthen and advocate for the interests of the cities of Kansas to advance the general welfare and promote the quality of life of the people who live within our cities.” The League provides guidance, training, and education for public officials. The City Candidates Guide is a free resource for candidates filing to run for office.
“Established by United WE in 2014, the Appointments Project works to empower women and strengthen communities by increasing the gender diversity of civic boards and commissions. Through a landmark study, we identified the barriers causing women to be underrepresented on civic boards and commissions, and we established the Appointments Project to improve the number of women serving.”
The mission of Omni Circle Group is “to unite and strengthen communities by adding value to the personal and professional development of minorities to promote achievement and preparation for global competitiveness.” They offer trainings, professional development, and networking.
The 2020 elections showed us that every vote matters. It also matters that voters see candidates on their ballot who can truly represent them, their neighborhood, their school district, and their lived experiences. Electing more diverse candidates to local office is a powerful way to strengthen our communities from the inside out. Gender and racial diversity on city councils and school boards can lead to policies in our schools, public services, and courts that empower women and families, and build a stronger Topeka community. Is it your time?