I never met Jamie Kirk Hahn, but I know she set her standards high and encouraged all those she worked with to do the same. Jamie, whose life was tragically cut short last year, was a strategist who committed her life to ensuring access to justice for each North Carolinian. I was invited to participate in the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation Academy last month, and just as she inspired the people who knew her, Jamie’s story motivated me to work hard and continue her legacy.
I’m a novice activist and initially, I was resistant to this type of training. Aside from making phone calls to help elect the first Black mayor of Toledo when I was a teenager, I’ve never been entirely politically engaged.
But I want more women and people of color to vote so that we are properly represented at the ballot. I realized I didn’t need a ton of experience, just a willingness to make a difference.
There were people from all over the state at the training. Many ran campaigns and were interested in honing their skills. Others, like me, wanted to make a change but were unsure of how to get plugged in. One young mother expressed wanting a better future for her children so she volunteer phone banked to encourage others to vote. She wanted to ensure that diverse voices were included in the dialogue.
Many of North Carolina’s women want to make a change but are unsure of where to start. Some women don’t get involved because they feel that politics are for the experts who are academically trained. But North Carolinians have learned from the past couple of years that politics are for everyone and that women should be and are concerned about cuts to education, inequity in pay, and contraceptive coverage. The changing political landscape affects all of us, and all of us have a role to play in shaping the state we want to live in.
Jamie Kirk Hahn taught and hired many young and inexperienced women to work to change our state. Jamie taught us that anyone can do this work, if you have a willing heart to see a different North Carolina.
It’s not too late to get involved. I encourage women to join local organizations such as Women AdvaNCe that help women organize to get the word out about what is important to women through AdvaNCe Teams. I know I will be doing so this year.
North Carolina’s future is bright if all these women are working in her stead. Together, we are an army of Jamies.