Come November 2011, the residents of the City of Baltimore will once again head to the polls to cast their votes for their favorite mayoral candidate. Sounds simple enough. Only this time, there’s a new kid on the block. Though familiar to many residents of Baltimore because of her long-time contributions to the community, the 2011 election marks a first time foray into politics for 29 year-old Catalina Byrd, who will be running as an Independent.
After launching her campaign bid, the mayoral hopeful sat down with Tim Curry, a special correspondent for Politic365.com, to describe her plans for pursuing Baltimore’s top executive position.
Passionate about politics and community outreach, Catalina’s goal is to “target the 18-35 year-old voter in a whole new way.” She sees herself as an ambassador for that generation, and her vision for the future has enabled her to develop a new form of advocacy that speaks to the hearts and minds of young people:
We have never seen a format that has catered to what already interests this demographic. And that’s why I use artists. When I have a Caddy the Don or a Smash T-Mack on, it’s a big deal because they’re played on 92.3 and they’re apart of that culture. So the same people that come down to the Velvet Rope to see them do a show will tune into my show, and now I have the ability to use these people that they follow to put information into their heads in a way to empower them.
Catalina’s message of ’empower first,’ is informed by her desire to educate young people in her community, and arm them with the information they need to make smart decisions in their lives. “It saddens me that so many people, even my own friends, [call on me] to ask [about the meaning of] something that is going on politically,” she said. “They don’t know, and they’re comfortable not knowing, and that’s a complacency that is really disheartening.”
Lack of understanding, and what’s more, the ambivalence toward that lack of understanding, drives Catalina to be a voice for positive change and inspiration.
People have to understand that we have to start caring, because if we care, then politicians will start to care about our issues. The minute we become a powerful voting block…our issues become important [because politicians] will need our votes to win elections. So first we have to educate and empower [ourselves] about the process, and then we will have to take part in it so that [others, people in power] will listen. I’m just trying to be the catalyst that will jumpstart this process.
Though this is just the beginning of Catalina’s pursuit of a political career, we’re sure to hear from her in the months and years ahead.