BPAL educates community ahead of primary election

Eunice Campbell, a candidate for the North Ward on the Winston-Salem City Council, talks about her platform during a recent candidates forum.

BPAL educates community ahead of primary election
February 18
11:48 2020

Over the past three weeks, the Black Political Action League (BPAL) and several other organizations have been doing their part to ensure voters are prepared for the upcoming primary election by hosting a series of forums where candidates in several local races had the opportunity to discuss their platforms and most pressing issues in the community. 

The series of candidate forums began on Jan. 27 at the Central Library when candidates for mayor and Forsyth County clerk of court met to discuss the issues. The second forum was held on Feb. 1 at the Delta Fine Arts Center and featured candidates running to represent the East Ward on the Winston-Salem City Council. The next forum held at the Winston-Salem Urban League highlighted the candidates running to represent the U.S. Congressional 6th District and N.C. State House. 

The last forum, held on Monday, Feb. 11, was also held at the Central Library and included candidates running for District B on the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners and the South, Southwest, Southeast, West, and North Wards on the Winston-Salem City Council. 

During each forum, candidates answered three questions pertaining to their platforms: how they plan to spend their first 100 days in office, what they believe is the most pressing issue in the community, and how they plan to engage the community. 

Reginald McCaskill, president of the BPAL, said when they decided to partner with other organizations, including the Winston-Salem Black Chamber of Commerce, local NAACP, Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity, and The Chronicle to host the forums, the plan was to create one venue where candidates could share their views with the public. McCaskill said he wanted to make it easier for candidates and the community

“The main reason was to bring the forums under one umbrella so we wouldn’t have one thousand forums,” McCaskill said. “This concept makes it much easier for our candidates and the community so people won’t be running around. And what normally happens is, you have the same people attending forums anyway.” 

McCaskill mentioned that the BPAL and the other partners have already planned to hold forums ahead of the General Election as well. The BPAL will also participate in the Souls to the Polls event scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22. 

The BPAL was founded in the 1980s by several leaders in the community, including Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke, with the purpose of providing educational resources regarding the political process. After being inactive for a few years, McCaskill and others decided to reignite the initiative earlier this year. McCaskill said he felt it was important to bring the BPAL back to educate black voters in the community. 

“I felt the need to bring it back because there is a need to educate our African American citizens. Everything we do is geared toward the concept of education,” McCaskill said. “So we just wanted to make sure we reach those people and that they are educated about the political process.”

Early voting for the 2020 primary election in Forsyth County begins today, Feb. 13, and ends on Feb. 29. The primary election is Tuesday, March 3. For more information on the primary election and early voting sites, visit the Forsyth County Board of Elections website. 

For more information on the BPAL, visit “Black Political Awareness League BPAL” on Facebook. 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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