Sarika Bansal, the only person of colour running for the Cary Town Council this year, came across a defaced campaign sign of hers on August 24th.
The campaign sign of an Indian-origin woman running for a town council in the US state of North Carolina was vandalised, with a photo of a Black person’s face superimposed over her board, according to a media report.
The defaced sign was found on 24th August in the Highcroft Village neighbourhood of West Cary, where she is contending for the seat.
Who Is Sarika Bansal?
The candidate in question is Sarika Bansal, and she is the only person of colour running for the Cary Town Council in this year's election. The discovery was made known to Bansal during a regular town council meeting.
Describing the incident as "shocking," Bansal expressed her deep sadness and denounced the act of vandalism and racism against her campaign. The newspaper report, featured in The News & Observer, detailed how the image of Bansal's face had been intentionally scratched off and replaced with a photo of a young Black boy's face.
“We must embrace diversity as a means of building strength and unity in our town. There is no place for bigotry and racism against people of colour, brown or Black, in the Town of Cary,” she was quoted as saying.
Under North Carolina law, the act of stealing, defacing, vandalising, or removing a lawfully placed political sign constitutes a class 3 misdemeanour.
In an official communication, Mayor Harold Weinbrecht pledged the town's commitment to thoroughly investigate the incident. He condemned the reprehensible and racist nature of the act, noting that it contradicts the cherished values held by the community of Cary. Mayor Weinbrecht expressed the belief that such incidents would only serve to strengthen the bonds within the community.
The report highlighted that within Cary's population of 180,000 residents, individuals of Asian American descent make up around 20 per cent of the demographic.
Advocating for Inclusiveness and Unity
According to Bansal, West Cary requires sustainable leadership. She believes that having diverse representation within the town council will contribute to the desired transformative changes.
As a resident of Cary and the owner of a small business named Raj Jewels, Bansal established her enterprise, in Morrisville half a decade ago. Her involvement in local government affairs has been notable in recent times.
In a statement released on Friday, Bansal urged fellow candidates to dedicate themselves to fostering an inclusive Cary that welcomes individuals from all backgrounds and ethnicities. In the contest for the District D seat in the town, Bansal is competing against incumbent Councilman Ryan Eades and newcomer Rachel Jordan.
In the event of winning the election, Bansal would achieve the distinction of being the second woman of colour and the first Indian American to hold a seat on the town council.
Cary's municipal election is scheduled for October 10, preceding the county's election on November 7.