21-year-old Joshua Binda will be the youngest African American elected to public office in Washington State if voted onto the Lynnwood City Council.
On March 25, the first-time candidate, running for the Lynnwood City Council, held his virtual campaign kick-off event, where he spoke to an online crowd of over 70 community members.
“Making a change in your community is not as hard as people think,” said Binda. “I think people view politics as something you can only do once you reach a certain level or age.
Following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer in May of 2020, Binda began organizing protests throughout local communities, meeting and working with local elected officials to promote equity and racial justice. His observation of the power of local government motivated him to run for office.
“To create the change we want, it has to come through legislative reform,” said Binda. “Most of our daily life is affected by our local government, and me being someone who has the heart and passion for Lynnwood…I thought that it was time for me to get involved in the community… and to be a representative of all the people in our city.”
Binda outlined his key priorities for the city, if elected, including affordable housing to promote increased diversity within the city. He also wants to build upon the city’s public safety and create inclusive public spaces such as a community center.
“The most important is that we bring to Lynnwood diversity in our leadership, diversity in our communities and education systems, and making sure people feel understood and heard.”
A focus on the city’s budget is another priority, allocated towards initiatives that are representative of and supported by Lynnwood residents
City of Bothell Councilmember James McNeal and Former Mayor of the city of Woodinville Elaine Cook spoke on Binda’s behalf.
Cook recounted when she met Binda last year when he and fellow activist Jaden Sheffey approached the city of Woodinville asking them to support a peaceful BLM protest.
“Once in a while you meet someone and you’re assured that the world is good by their mere presence… I’ve learned that he is highly capable of affecting positive change in his community… the truth is Josh is already making change within his community,” said Cook.
McNeal expressed how inspired he was by Binda’s leadership in the wake of Floyd’s death and how it made him want to be a better leader.
“What I see in you is the future,” said McNeal to Binda. “You’re going to take us into the future.”
On April 14, Binda was elected Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission for the city of Lynnwood.
To learn more about Binda’s election campaign visit joshbinda.com.