April Browning

gIMG_0650"First and foremost, I'm a mom," says April Browning, after mulling over my vague introductory question, asking her to tell me about herself. She subconsciously looks through the trees in the city park we're meeting in to make sure her son is still close by. 

"My son Elijah is in the 4th grade and he's a pretty brilliant kid.  He makes every day worth living and special," she says smiling.  "That's the first and most important thing you need to know about me."

"But after that, it's really important to me to take initiative to make my community a better place - for Elijah and everyone else."

April moved to Kentucky 22 years ago when she was little, coming from Flint, Michigan, a community eroded by economic hardship and crime.  She doesn't want Lexington to have to fall on hard times like Flint.

"I look for ways to get involved in my community, and organizing has become a passion of mine, especially in the last year.  I've helped to organize rallies and have found a lot of outlets to make my community stronger."

gIMG_0664But in addition to being a mom, a community activist, and so much more, April is a former felon, having been convicted of a non-violent crime many years ago.  Kentucky is one of just a handful of states that takes away the right to vote  

"I am politically active and I feel that my voice as well as thousands of other Kentuckians voices should be heard. We are not second rate citizens, like all other people we are capable of change and can only become productive members of society if that society will allow us to be a part of it. I'm fighting for progress across the board and this fight is personal."

"The ballot box isn't the only way to make a political impact; I've been able to find plenty of other ways to organize and make a difference too." 

"There are a lot of changes we need to make to make things better for the next generation.  But this is one of them and I'm going to fight for the right to vote of citizens who have paid their debts to society.  It's only fair."

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