On Saturday night, Ryan had the opportunity to celebrate the Greensboro Branch of the NAACP at its 53rd Annual Freedom Fund Banquet. The incomparable Rev. Dr. William Barber delivered a keynote address that called on the audience to join the moral revival he and the historic Poor People’s Campaign have ignited to “restore the heart and soul of our democracy.” Ryan admires the Campaign’s intersectional approach to educating the public on issues of ecological devastation, systemic poverty and racism, and the war economy. As the Representative of the 6th District, Ryan would look forward to listening to impacted communities and working with them in the fight to end these injustices.
Rev. Dr. Barber also called attention to the conservative “Southern Strategy” to drive a wedge between working-class people of different races. First employed by Richard Nixon, this strategy is still being used by Republicans to magnify what divides Americans instead of focusing on our commonalities. The result is a body politic too plagued by partisanship and dog whistle politics to stop special interest groups from becoming more powerful than average citizens. Watts for Congress came away from this incredible event with even more enthusiasm for the task at hand: winning the 2018 election so we can start building coalitions between people of all backgrounds to create a fair policy that works for everyone, not just a privileged few.