Kesha Monk has lived in Raleigh on and off for over 20 years. She is a graduate of Shaw University & a full-time media professional; having worked as a radio personality in markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston. After a devastating cancer diagnosis in 2011, she had to make a career pivot and became a voiceover artist. She has been the live announcer for the Tony Awards, The Soul Train Awards 6 years in a row and even voiced a GM commercial that aired during the Super Bowl earlier this year. Her voice has been behind various major political campaigns across the country including President Biden’s Democracy Summit, Thom Tillis for Senate and Raphael Warnock in Georgia. 

Kesha Monk delivered public comments to City Council on August 15, 2023. 

NOTE – At the start of Public Comments Mayor Baldwin reduced the comment time for each speaker from the standard 3 minutes to 2 minutes. She did this without warning and speakers were NOT notified the day before, as is standard procedure, to allow them the chance to modify their prepared remarks to fit in the new time limit.

I had originally planned to ask the city council not to continue to destroy the Prince Hall District.  But I must pivot thanks to the semantics of our Mayor.

In the words of Whoopi Goldberg, “Molly, we in danger, girl.” 

I’m not sure people understand how dangerous it is to place limitations on the voices of your constituents. Limiting the voices of our community not only undermines the principles of democracy but also hinders the progress and development of our city. Our constituents are the heart and soul of this community, and our diverse perspectives and experiences are invaluable in shaping effective policies and initiatives.

By imposing restrictions on speaking time, you are excluding valuable input and shutting down important conversations that need to take place. Each member of our community deserves the opportunity to be heard, NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES.  It is through active participation and engagement that we can ensure the fair representation and inclusivity that our city council is SUPPOSED to stand for. LIVES ARE BEING IMPACTED.

This is suppression of the concerns, ideas, and suggestions of those who may already be marginalized or underrepresented. It is imperative to recognize that every voice holds the potential for positive change and that an inclusive decision-making process requires giving due importance to the viewpoints of all community members…regardless of race, religious belief, sexual orientation or limited physical ability. 

Open communication and transparency are vital in fostering a sense of unity and collaboration between our elected officials and the people they serve. When we limit the time for public comments…ESPECIALLY when in the midst of a CRISIS –  defies logic. For this chamber to be nearly filled to capacity at 1PM in the afternoon says A LOT about the direction we’re headed in with certain members of our council. 

I want to urge everyone within the sound of my voice to understand that the more they try to silence me – the louder I’ll become. 

Let us embrace the power of open dialogue, actively listen to the concerns and perspectives of our community members, and work together towards a more inclusive and thriving city. And if you refuse to listen that’s cool.  Next November, we’ll get someone who WILL listen. 

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