Glens, Virginia – The second and final debate in the Virginia governor’s election was going on for about 10 minutes when the woman started screaming from the audience.
“I worked hard to participate in the ballot. Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin waited awkwardly, and NBC News moderator Chuck Todd finally called for security and commercialization. She screamed as she entered the brakes.
For Princess Branding, confusing the debate was an all-day job. Branding, a black activist and educator known for his strong advocacy of racial justice and police reform, has made long-term third-party bids on the governor. Despite the structural constraints of the bipartisan system, he is determined to announce his presence in the race.
When the sponsor of the debate tells her that she can sit in the audience, but is not allowed to participate – citing the long tradition of only inviting major party candidates – Branding says she is. Felt like he was I’m on the bus like everyone else… but you’re going to sit at the back of the bus. “
“I came, sat down, applauded and played, and when the time came, I heard a voice,” she said.
Branding, 39, doesn’t have to be on stage to make a mark. Opinion polls show fierce competition between McCoriff and Yongkin, and Democrats are concerned that the branding will suck up enough votes to help Yongkin win.
Branding says he is not interested in Democratic concerns. “I am their worst nightmare, but what do you think? I am my ancestors’ wildest dream,” she said.
The branding activity came to the fore in 2018 after her brother, a 24-year-old high school biology teacher named Marcus-David Peters, was fatally shot by a Richmond police officer. Peters is facing a mental health crisis and has faced rush hour traffic naked and unarmed. Before the constable could shoot him, he ran towards the police and threatened to kill him.
Branding argues that police officers who said they were dealing with “mentally unstable” men on police radio should not have used lethal forces. She led a protest march and sought criminal charges against the officers, but prosecutors found the shooting justified.
Branding also promoted legislation to set up an alert system to send mental health providers along with the police to help stabilize people in the event of a crisis. She was also a leading voice in protests and demands for police reform following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020.
However, neither the “Marcus Alert” law, which was named after his brother, nor the reforms were advanced enough for branding. She said it was then that she decided to start a new Liberation Party and run for governor as a third-party candidate.
“It was a continuing failure of the two-party system, particularly the Democratic Party,” Branding said in an interview with the Associated Press.
She opposes Democrats, who say she has passed weak reforms following Floyd’s killing and rejected a bill that would end limited immunity. It is the principle of law that protects the police from most actions resulting from work done in the job.
During the signing of the Marcus Alert Ceremony bill, Branding accused lawmakers of a law he believed would overpower police when answering calls involving people with mental health problems.
“Take some time to properly implement this racist and corrupt system… do what you expect and make the Marcus Alert bill short and ineffective. Crisis results in the death penalty,” she said .
None of the bill’s three major sponsors, Senator Jeff Bourne, Senator Jeremy McPike and Senator Jennifer McClellan, returned calls for comment on Branding candidacy.
Phil Willett, a community organizer and activist for Freedom, Justice and Equality Advocates of Virginia, says the branding style is “passionate and sometimes dramatic.”
She has been driven by a strong desire for justice for those who have been denied justice, both historically and today. That is his strength. People see it. He’s real. “
Running for politician was not what Branding envisioned. Raised in New York, New York by an aunt, Branding was one of 16 siblings and wanted to be a pediatrician.
In college, they had their first child. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biology, he worked three jobs, including a substitute teacher. It was an experience that led him to an educational career. She taught junior high school science and later became a vice-principal.
A friend of mine, Gina Jones, who attended Morgan State University with Branding, said she was still a strong supporter as a student, remembering that a few days of power cuts ruined the food in her fridge. Had given. Jones, who had two young children, was publicly supported and a local social welfare agency was called to see if they could get additional food stamps in place of spoiled food. I was told that I would have to wait till next month.
Branding took over.
“She immediately called them and said, ‘My sister lost all the food during the power outage, and she needs to get her food back,'” Jones recalled. .. “They replaced the food stamps we lost.”
Branding, a single mother of three daughters ages 20, 13 and 5, is now a science teacher at a middle school in Alexandria, about 140 miles (225 km) from her home in Middle Peninsula, Middlesex County, Virginia. doing work. Her round-trip journey through traffic jams in Metro Washington, Northern Virginia often takes about eight hours a day, but she’s driving and long because she can earn a living wage to support her family. Is. He said the number of days was worth it.
The branding contrasts with his life experience with former Virginia governor McCoriff and former private-equity firm CEO Youngkin.
“I hear these two privileged millionaires talking about how to deal with the problems we feel in our most marginalized communities. They don’t mind the branding. You don’t know what it looks like.”
The branding raised a small share compared to its opponents, compared to McCariff’s $44.5 million and Yongqin’s $42.3 million. That’s about $30,200. However, it seems to have built loyal support among college students and those who participated in the racial justice protest in Richmond last year.
She has three months off from her teacher’s job to focus on a “meet the people” campaign by knocking on doors and attending events like festivals and open markets. Where did you take it? Its audience numbers are small, around 30 to 75 people.
Lawrence West Jr., founder of the Richmond branch of Black Lives Matter, said it wouldn’t be surprising if Branding could win 5% of the vote.
“I see him as the leader of a new era, America,” West said.
“He’s not a Democrat, not a Republican… Build fairness, create diversity and get people involved.” She really believes in it and stands behind it. “
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