Our “LEE Members in Office” series shares the stories of members who ran for office during COVID. Find out why these members chose to run and what continues to motivate them to serve as elected leaders.
Ciara Hart currently serves as the Louisiana Democratic Party State Central Committee Member. She is also the Director of Organizing and Chair of the South Louisiana Coalition for Education. She works full time as a history teacher and social emotional learning coordinator and served as a Teach For America Baton Rouge corps member in 2019.
Ciara is a Louisiana native, originally from the small town of Natchitoches. When she was young, her parents moved her to South Florida, specifically because of its educational opportunities. Ciara is committed to improve educational opportunities in Louisiana, so families do not have to relocate like hers did.
Running for Office Can Be Uncomfortable, and That is OK
“Running for office has led me to meet so many amazing people in the state who also tell me that they've lost one, two, sometimes three, four, five and six times. And it’s not about how many times you lose or how uncomfortable it is. And all of those struggles that can sometimes seem to be too much. It was about those who will benefit from your service or your advocacy. And that, to me, tops everything else it is. I can be uncomfortable and I can be frustrated and I can know that I live in a system that was not built for this young black woman to win.”
There is No Time To Wait – Students and Families Need You Now
“I know that I’m going to continue, because if I don’t continue somebody else and then continue, I think about our ancestors and so many that decided to stand up and fight when the norm wasn't to fight, when the norm was to do what you needed to do to survive. And sometimes survival looks a little bit different. And I think about our communities now. A lot of times people say communities are complacent and they don’t care and they're not paying attention because nobody wants to go out and vote no. Those communities have been lied to. They’ve been manipulated.”
“When you’ve been disenfranchised for so long, your survival is sometimes doing what you have to do so that your family has food on the table, so that you have a great job or a job that will provide and take care of yourself and your family. And they don’t have the room to think about all of these other mitigating factors that have them to those positions. And so I think about myself and the privilege that I have. Who am I to deny myself the opportunity to serve those who right now can’t have their feet on the ground as much as they would like to?”
Young Students Deserve Representation in Their Leadership
“When I think about representation and leadership, it shows our students have possibilities for them to look at themselves and say, I’m a leader and I also can make change and I don’t have to wait on anyone else to do it for me, even if it’s small.”
“It’s so important for our students and community members to see representation in leadership because it literally paints a mirror of what they can become. I have so many students that always have these amazing ideas of change. And my question to them is always, well, when are you going to start?”
Running for Office Will Push You
“There are concerns at every doorstep, and it’s about finding leaders who are willing to meet them there. To identify those needs and say this fight may be hard, it’s not going to be easy, it is going to be very difficult, but it’s necessary. I encourage anyone who wants to run to do it. And it will push you to be one the best version of yourself.”
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