By Liz Castaneda, NDG Special Contributor
Let’s get uncomfortable and discuss politics, race and religion. These subjects are sometimes addressed and focused on when a candidate is running for office. Eyes are rolled or these subjects are often labeled as off limits.
I have lived in Carrollton since 1971 and I am of Mexican descent. My children consist of African, Native American, Latin and Anglo heritage. In my household, we also have different religious beliefs. We have Catholics, Baptists, I believe in God and Jesus but not organized religion, and even one child who is considering the teachings of Buddha. In my household, we have Republicans, Democrats and I will vote for the best person for the job. It is needless to say, I have a household full of diversity.
On local elections, we tend to agree more than we disagree. Topics such as accessibility, community involvement, ethnic endorsements, relationship with the school district, police and fire are vital to us.
It is also important we are not treated as accessories to candidates in their race for power. How do we use utilize the power of our diversity? How do we make it clear we are growing in numbers and will no longer accept promises lacking substance? We can begin by not beating around the bush and letting candidates know we see through their lies and façade.
In Carrollton, we have a mayoral election runoff underway and I am amazed how much attention diverse groups are receiving. Let’s list our two Carrollton candidates and find out which candidate is worthy of our precious vote and support. Let’s mark it all down in black and white and find out who is a true uniting leader versus who is throwing out meaningless words hoping we believe them.
Let’s list our mayoral candidate’s pros and cons. I have had the honor of knowing one candidate for years. I have witnessed Steve Babick and his family involved in everything from enriching our parks and trails, to being an advocate for renaming a city street to honor Annie Heads Rainwater (an African American woman who was successful in integrating our school system). I have often run into Steve and his wife eating at locally owned restaurants and excitingly shopping for Christmas gifts at our mom and pop shops.
I only met Kevin Falconer this year, conveniently after announcing he was running for mayor. Only in the past couple of months have I seen Mr. Falconer be involved in a hands-on capacity at all.
Mr. Babick lost endorsements of elected officials when he maintained a friendship and support of a minority candidate running for city council. While Mr.Falconer refused participation for the consideration of the Tejano Democrats forum. Mr. Babick received the support of the Muslim community. While Mr. Falconer received the endorsement of the Tea Party. Carrollton’s Police and Fire associations endorsed Babick, while Falconer was endorsed by the Kenny Marchant family.
Based on facts my family will vote for Steve Babick. He has never labeled us. The Babick family has been here for my community regardless of race, religion or income.
Kevin Falconer has simply been out of touch with our concerns, our community and our lives.
We, as minorities and diverse voters, have an enormous duty. Our duty and obligation involve ensuring our future continues to move forward in a positive direction. Early voting began on Tuesday, May 30 and ends on Tuesday, June 6, I urge you all to make voting your priority.
Liz Castaneda is a lifelong resident of Carrollton and a community activist.