CNA Kaydra Bonamy is Getting out the Vote for Racial JusticeOctober 27, 2020
It’s the final stretch before the November 3 election and CNA Kaydra Bonamy is on a mission to get Floridians to vote. As a constituency member political organizer with 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, she’s working hard calling African American voters to educate and inform them about how critical this election is for Black working families and all Floridians. She also works full-time as a certified nursing assistant in Central Florida. Despite the demanding schedule, one thing keeps her motivated.
“This country is moving in the wrong direction,” said Bonamy with urgency in her voice. “Trump has taken us back 40 years. The hate is so horrible. This has to change.”
Among the changes Bonamy wants to see is an end to police brutality. She cited numerous cases of unarmed black men that have died in police custody over the past few years. Among them, the tragic death of George Floyd, an African American man who died in Minneapolis after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground for eight minutes and 46 seconds by an officer's knee which sparked global protests.
“It makes me so emotional just to think about all of the Black men and women who have died due to police brutality. These victims left behind family and other people who loved them. Some had children who will never see their father or mother again. That’s not right,” said Bonamy.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris believe in racial justice. After Floyd’s death, Biden called on Congress to enact policing reforms including outlawing police use of chokeholds and enacting standards for use of force. Biden also has a racial equity plan that will reform “opportunity zones”, invest in affordable housing and homeownership and expand access to resources for minority business owners.
“We all know economic justice and racial justice go hand in hand,” said Bonamy. “Joe Biden supports a $15 minimum wage. That would help many CNAs who make so little money they struggle to survive and feed their families.”
In fact, the average hourly salary for a CNA in Florida is about $11 per hour. Many of these caregivers also don’t have health insurance because premiums and deductibles are high and unaffordable. Bonamy reminds her coworkers that Biden’s call for a $15 minimum wage and expanding access to affordable healthcare would directly impact them and improve their lives.
“Voting is how we can make positive changes,” explained Bonamy. “It starts with conversations and building relationships. The more we educate voters, change is going to come.”
Bonamy is working for racial justice in other ways. She serves as Secretary for the SEIU Southern Region AFRAM (African American) Caucus. In this organizing role, she’s helping to recruit members from Florida and several other southern states to join their caucus and help them meet their goal to highlight issues that impact African American members and their communities.
“We’re using this program to get members engaged around the issues that matter to them,” explained Bonamy. “It’s not about the candidates, it’s the issues.”
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris believe in core issues that are important to working families – expanding access to affordable healthcare, good paying jobs, sustainable long-term care, strong unions, immigration reform and racial justice. Biden and Harris will work to build an America for All where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential. Bonamy believes this message is resonating with voters because voter turnout has been high during early voting.
There’s still time to make your voice heard. Vote early now or on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3.