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July 12, 2022
My friend came into town last night. She’s on a road trip and decided to stop in Tallahassee to revisit memories and familiar places. I met her while I was a student at Florida State (FSU). We were both in the Noles Want Bernie club. It’s funny to think back on the beginning of my “political career” and where I am now.
Running for public office is hard, but it’s even harder when you consider that politics is just a social club and if you’re an outsider, people will actively work against you.
When I was in the local “progressive politics” club, I was a high-ranking member and was entrusted to help start OurTallahassee, a local “progressive” news platform funded by dark money. I left the club shortly after the platform was established, which is a story I will eventually tell.
I want to detail my experience in politics, and on this campaign trail, because I believe it’s important for honest, genuine people to enter politics, fully aware of how the game is played and just how toxic the environment is. Politics, especially on the local level, is a lot darker and dirtier than the general realizes.
After we got ready, Benji, my friend, and I walked over to the Vino Beano for a networking event hosted by the Capital City Chamber of Commerce. I mainly went to introduce myself as a candidate to residents, but ended up switching into my software developer brain to talk about Tallahassee’s tech problem and tool development. It seems like there’s a lot of interest to build a localized mobile mapping tool or application that businesses can use to attract customers, but in a fun and interactive way. Basically like Pokemon Go but local and with historical facts embedded. The idea is absolutely plausible and I think the first next step is a hackathon or brainstorm session to define the scope and draw up a mock-up.
I hope there’s some movement on this idea!
After the networking event, my friend explored Tallahassee and Benji and I started our work day. I finally finished moving into the campaign office today. It feels so good to have a space just for the campaign.
At the end of the work day, I went to the FSU Black Student Union’s (BSU) Involvement Fair to table. It was nice talking to the students as an alum. I met so many that aren’t registered to vote and unaware of what a City Commissioner is. However, I did meet a couple that are very aware and their biggest concerns were development and how it has encouraged gentrification and both physical and political displacement. When we talked about gentrification, I brought up two examples: Orange Ave Apartments and FAMU Way/Boynton Stills.
Another random thought: Tallahassee should replicate FSU/FAMU’s SGA to make it easier for residents to be engaged. Local clubs shouldn’t be self-funded and self-guided. Residents, like college students, should be able to rely on their government to purchase t-shirts, host events, and connect.
I’m starting to get tired so I won’t get into the details right now. But, overall it was a good time! It was funny hearing everyone refer to me as ‘Ms. Green’. When I hear ‘Ms. Green’, I don’t think of myself. I think of my Mom. I’ve never heard anyone call me Mrs. Charles, which is how I’d actually like people to refer to me if they use “Ms.” or “Mrs”. I should start correcting people until I get my name changed.
After the BSU event, I met up with Janelle, my campaign manager, to get the t-shirts! We finally have campaign t-shirts!! I’m so excited about that. Then I drove over to Smokey Hollow for the protest about the police shooting of Jayland Walker, a black man that was shot (60 times) and killed by police after a traffic stop.
I will save my thoughts about this incident for tomorrow.
The last thing I’ll add is today was actually a really low day for me. I felt stressed, anxious, isolated, and frustrated. But Benji reminded me to just do the best I can and to continue to follow my dreams. It’s not going to be easy, but it will be revolutionary.
To lift myself up, I listened to a recording from a campaign brainstorm session that Benji and I recorded a few days ago:
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