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Michael Banner looks to unseat Scippio

Michael Banner is running as write-in candidate to represent the East Ward on the Winston-Salem City Council.

Michael Banner looks to unseat Scippio
March 26
05:10 2020

Earlier this month, incumbent Annette Scippio won the Democratic bid for East Ward on the Winston-Salem City Council. For as long as I can remember, the race for the East Ward has been decided in the primary election because most of the time, the Democrat who won didn’t have a challenger in the general election. But this year that isn’t the case.

After defeating three challengers in the primary, Scippio will face Winston-Salem native Michael Banner in the Nov. 6 general election. Earlier this week, The Chronicle caught up with Banner to discuss his platform and his decision to run for City Council. 

Banner, who is running as an independent candidate, is well known throughout the community for his work as an activist and community farmer. His platform includes a push for an initiative that teaches entrepreneurship through farming and agriculture. 

Banner said he started farming when his first daughter was born and over the years he has learned how farming can bring people together, as well as be a way to make money. Just like Banner, current City Councilmember Denise “D.D.” Adams is a firm believer in urban farming and agriculture as well. In 2016 the City Council approved funding for a $1.1 million hydroponics aquaponic facility in the Kimberley Park Community in the Northeast Ward, which was spearheaded by Adams and HOPE (Helping Our People Eat). 

Banner said farming is a way to create jobs for people in need, while also bringing people together.

“Through farming, I’ve learned the true meaning in strength in diversity,” Banner said. “Where I was a hard-lined pro-black-minded person … I was out there in the soil with people of different persuasions and I found I could learn from them. I feel like the soil neutralizes our differences and puts us all on one accord.”

If chosen by the people to represent the East Ward, Banner also plans to implement other programs to address the ongoing cycle of poverty and recidivism in the community. He said while there are many programs and initiatives already in place to help address poverty, until the people most in need truly understand what it means to be successful or prosperous, the programs and initiatives won’t have any real impact. 

Banner said many of the issues in the East Ward are directly connected to the history of redlining in the area. Redlining is a discriminatory practice usually used in real estate where banks avoid investing in certain areas based on community demographics. He said that has forced the residents of the East Ward to spend their money in other communities. 

“For the large part, it comes from the historic redlining and disinvestment from the community,” Banner continued. “That hit us like right out the gate and then we have so many dependencies in so many trends that we fall behind, that get us to spend money outside of our community, to where businesses barely stand a chance to survive in a black community without really feeding into the poisons that a lot of our people are hooked to. 

“You know we got money stretched out on our arm and to our ear. I think once we can get our minds psychologically fixed to what it means to be prosperous as a people, we need to began to be more resilient.” 

When asked earlier this week what makes him the best choice for the citizens of the East Ward, Banner said he is the best person for the job because he is sincere about his push to bring about change. He said, “I think Malcolm said my sincerity is my credential. So if nothing else, I’m going to bring sincerity to the plate.

“I’m not going to come in there and act like I’m the most qualified … but I think just by me being sincere and me being of the people who are effected the most, I feel like I’m the most sincere in attending to those needs and I think it’s an immediate need, not something that should be put off or made less of a priority because we don’t have the money or show you to vote. Even if people don’t vote, they still need to be tended to.” 

The 2020 general election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 3. For more information on the upcoming election, visit the Forsyth County Board of Elections official website: http://www.forsyth.cc/Elections/. 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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