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North Carolina, Carrboro - Proud of being an openly gay Latino millennial, the son of migrant farmworkers, who has dedicated his professional life, and much of his personal life, to fighting for his communities, Eliazar Posada will seek to become the new councilman for the Town of Carrboro.
"I want to be councilman because Carrboro is a town that strives to make a space for everyone, but we have work to do," Eliazar Posada told Enlace Latino NC.
"Representation is important, our council should be a reflection of our communities," he added.
After the 2021 municipal elections in Carrboro, Damon Seils was elected mayor, leaving his previous council seat open.
On December 7, the City Council voted to open a special election to fill that vacated seat.
If Posada wins the special election, tentatively set for May 17, he will fill the seat for the remainder of Seils' term, which ends in December 2023.
"My career has been focused on ensuring that historically marginalized and underrepresented communities are heard and have a seat at the table," he mentioned.
"I have many unique experiences and lessons that I have learned serving my community that I will bring to the Council," he assured.
Eliazar Posada, 29, asserts, if elected, a commitment to bring new voices and perspectives to the City Council table.
"My mother taught my brother and me that as Latinos, immigrants and poor, life is not going to be fair, at the end of the day family and community come first," he said.
Understanding his mother's message, the young candidate did not sit by with his arms crossed, and among other initiatives, in his first steps as a leader he organized an annual Hispanic Heritage concert at Knightdale High School.
He went on to found the only LGBTQ and Latino student clubs and served as the Governor of the North Carolina Student Legislature while at Campbell University.
After graduation, he went from volunteer to Acting President and CEO of the largest Latino led and serving nonprofit in North Carolina.
Passion for serving the community
Posada, stresses his passion for politics, advocacy and mobilization is the basis for the vocation to serve communities that have been marginalized and left out.
"Since my university years, I have held various positions in the political arena."
In his trajectory, he mentions that he has participated in committees, boards and commissions of local governments throughout the Triangle.
"Also, I have led voter education and registration efforts, worked on political campaigns, and served in leadership roles in the North Carolina Democratic Party."
New voices at the council table
Posada expresses to Enlace Latino NC that, as a former executive of El Centro Hispano, a member of the PORCH Board and the Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill and Carrboro, the Town of Carrboro Planning Board, and the Comprehensive Planning Task Force, he has seen the needs of the community first and foremost.
"If elected, I will be the first LGBTQ Latino elected in Orange County and I will be the youngest member on the council."
"My goal will be to represent our entire community and bring new and unheard voices to the table," he said.
Eliazar Posada's priorities
Posada highlights his top priorities: equity and inclusion, affordable housing and equitable transportation.
"These issues address the basic needs of many in our communities that have been neglected by the current systems," he explained. "On the council, I will work to ensure that the decisions made at the council table are reflective of the entire community," he added.
Challenges facing the Latino community in Carrboro
Posada said the time has come to have perspectives that reflect Carrboro's growing diversity and to listen to the challenges facing the Latino community.
"The Latino community in Carrboro is a vibrant and active community, but has several barriers to engaging with the city."
Firsthand, Posada knows that among the main issues are housing, transportation and cost of living.
"Carrboro is a beautiful place to live, but it's expensive. Finding affordable housing is increasingly difficult as rent prices continue to rise," he said.
"Like housing, transportation is an integral part of life in Carrboro. Currently many in our community cannot access downtown without putting themselves in danger," he remarked.
Transportation options and safety
Posada mentioned that it is the council's task to find ways to expand ways for community members to get downtown.
"This can be by expanding the options for walking, biking or busing to downtown, while maintaining safety."
"By addressing housing and transportation we can make a difference in our community's costs to live, work, and enjoy in Carrboro," he said.
"As a city, we need to find ways to address these issues, many of which have already been studied by the Comprehensive Planning Task Force, which I am pleased to be a part of," he noted.
For Posada, the council can play a role in "ensuring the city's priorities are in the areas of greatest need and in the projects that will have the greatest impact."
"Carrboro, a home for all"
With the slogan of "Let's make Carrboro a home for everyone," the young candidate highlights that Carrboro is a town that strives to make room for everyone.
"I love Carrboro because of how openly it has loved me, an openly gay Latino millennial. I want to bring that Carrboro experience to others by joining the Town Council."
"Together we can make Carrboro a home for all. I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and help Carrboro continue to thrive," he concluded.