National Political Organizer Shaun King Endorses Yes We Can Candidates for City Council and School Board
Yes We Can: Columbus Working Families, the group endorsing City Council candidates Jasmine Ayres and Will Petrik as well as School Board candidates Erin Upchurch, Abby Vaile and Amy Harkins, was recently backed by political writer, thought leader and speaker Shaun King.
It started with a video released on YouTube, featuring King in front of a chalkboard that reads “Yes We Can, A Tale of Two Cities: Columbus Revolution.”
“I think a lot of people look at Columbus, and they see a city that’s dominated by Democrats,” he begins, “and they say, ‘Hey, well we’re good.’ But some of the people that I know and love and care about don’t feel good at all, and they feel grossly underrepresented by the political leaders, the elected leaders, city council members, even the mayor here in Columbus.”
King is a prominent activist in the movement for black lives and against police brutality. As a columnist for The Intercept and as a blogger, he’s brought local instances of police violence to the national stage. In the video, King mentions speaking with Adrienne Hood, the mother of Henry Green, a 23-year-old black man who was shot and killed by undercover Columbus police officers last summer.
“So many times, his mother has felt let down by local leaders here in the city.” he says. “It breaks my heart. So other people are saying, ‘Hey, we want to have people in power who truly represent us, who know us, who value us, and who see us as not just a vote but as fully human.’”
King says being a Democrat isn’t enough, and that the views, opinions, thoughts and policies that people want to see represented aren’t being represented currently. He commented further on the lack of representation at all for some people and neighborhoods because Columbus lacks district representation on city council, instead employing a completely at-large system, “which blows my mind,” he said.
Days after posting that video, King shared a post on Facebook with stronger wording, calling out the “corporate establishment,” expressing exhaustion over “broken promises and scraps from city officials.”
“Grassroots organizers are galvanizing thousands to get out and vote in the upcoming local election,” he wrote. “From the East side to the West side, from the North side to the South side… people in Columbus are rising up!”
King shared the website votethemout614.com, which endorses each of the Yes We Can candidates for City Council and the School Board and weighs in on the choices for Franklin County Municipal Court Judge as well.