Why He Wants to Run the Bull City: Ward 2 Candidate LeVon Barnes Wants your Vote!
Written By: Dr. Katherine Jordan
Photo Credit: The Campaign Office of LeVon Barnes
This nation and more pointedly this city has seen the impact of politics on one’s daily life. The local media is saturated with debates about affordable housing, public education, crime rates and gentrification. It is imperative that the great people of Durham pay attention to upcoming city council candidates and their platforms. I had the pleasure of interviewing, Mr. LeVon Barnes to gain insight to his aspirations and goals for Durham during his race for City Council Ward 2.
Our interview began with a standard question: “Why?” Why would a vibrant 34-year-old educator and community leader, with a successful nonprofit and strong educational footing want to venture into politics? His response was refreshing. He said he loved the city and even though Durham has some opportunities, he doesn’t want to run from them; he’d prefer to do something about them. He continued on how critical it was for Durham, a melting pot of ethnicities and cultures, to collaborate on a generational level. He spoke on the backbreaking strides of our elders made in the creation of Black Wall Street and fostering African-American ingenuity and wealth. He talked about how valuable it would be for Durham if the tribal knowledge of the former generations were coined with the ambition and drive of millennials.
I then asked about the most important plank in his platform. Mr. Barnes spoke on jobs and training. He stated that even though affordable housing is under major scrutiny, people can’t afford housing without jobs that provide a living wage. As technology becomes a stakeholder in job creation, he mentioned that appropriate training is vital for the city. Mr. Barnes respects the wisdom of his elders and he’s confident in his abilities; and he knows that it will take everyone’s collaboration and energy to make those things deemed as impossible; possible.
My final question: “What advice would you share with young people today?” He paused briefly and responded; young people should be more of a leader than a follower. As the founder of Young Male Achievers in the DC area, an enrichment program for at risk African American and Hispanic males, he’s no stranger to young people and the issues they face. He concluded that it is important for the youth to know that they have the power to change their environment. Lastly, he emphasized that we must always remember that our purpose is bigger than us. We all have the ability to make a change that can span generations.