Meet Barbara Gaskins, Democrat for North Carolina

I have grown up and lived my entire life in Eastern North Carolina, and I have seen firsthand the struggles our community faces. I am a mom of three boys, a founder of an incarceration re-entry non profit, and someone who has fought every day to stand up for my neighbors. As a young black woman in the south, I know that the American dream has not always been in reach. But I am running because I believe the American dream can be achieved for all of us. If we have representatives on our side, we can make history – together.

My roots in ENC started with German settlers who came to America and assisted with the founding of New Bern, NC. From there my 4th great grandfather, Nero Kornegay, grew up as a slave in Eastern NC and was forced to work from sun up to sun down in Craven and Jones counties. He had envisioned an American Dream for himself and his family, but at this time in our history it was impossible as a slave, to keep his family together and achieve this dream.

My grandmother is one of the last of the original Kornegay bloodline – she was born in the 1920’s to a farmer and raised in Ayden NC. My grandmother lived through the Great Depression, both world wars, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights movement. After her husband passed away, she worked tirelessly to provide for her 5 children. Although our family history and the color of her skin unduly barred her, she persisted in finding that American Dream that Nero had envisioned for us.

Barbara standing in front of a waterfront in Greenville, NC
Barbara standing in front of a red tractor in a field

My own story is not that different from other minority stories across the country. I grew up in ENC and our family didn’t have a lot of money. I had experienced racism from an early age through job interviews, schooling, and the criminal justice system. When I was a teenager I had my first experience with law enforcement, one which made me realize that I needed to work to help those like me, like you, get real justice and make their way back from incarceration. I earned my education, I started a non profit, and now I am running for Congress. Following in the footsteps of the American Dream that was laid out in front of me in the 1700s.

On Jan 6, for many Americans, this dream turned into a nightmare as we sat and watched in horror as our constitution was under attack. This constitution is the fabric in which the American Dream is built upon. Our Freedom, Equality, Success, and Opportunity were all at risk on January 6th. It was on this day that I realized it was my call to step up and take action.

As a mother of 3 black boys, I realized that I must move my activism from the streets and seek a seat in Congress in order to change laws and uphold our constitutional rights, not only for their sake, but for the sake of all future generations. There are too many politicians who are currently in these seats who continue to make promises to us, but how can they make a promise when they can’t even adhere to their own promise to uphold the constitution?

This Country was built and continues to grow on the foundation of the American Dream. We can live up to this dream, but we must come together and close the gap between promises made and actions delivered. I am not a typical politician, but Eastern North Carolina runs deep in my veins and I want to amplify our voices and work to fix our problems. I will not give you false promises or political rhetoric but I will ensure that our rights are all upheld for each and every Eastern North Carolinian. We are entitled to rights that make and shape us. The American Dream is yours, and I will work to defend it.