Teachey, NC Mayor Supports ACTC – GDN Exclusive, Vol. II, Part XXVIIby Cash Michaels, GDN Contributing Writer July 10, 2020
On November 5, 2019, history was made in the small, southwest Duplin County town of Teachey – population 431, size one square mile.
It was the night of the general election, and by just one vote – 33-32 – Leonard Fillyaw defeated the incumbent, becoming Teachey’s first black mayor since 1878.
A retired New York City police officer, Mayor Fillyaw’s Big Apple accent is unmistakable, but his forward vision towards improving Teachey’s quality of life is unquestioned, which improves a library and African American cultural center.
And so is his belief in the critical importance of voting, and thus, his strong support for Greater Diversity News’ (GDN) “A Call to Colors” (ACTC) voter education – registration and mobilization campaign heading into the 2020 elections.
“People don’t get out and vote, so that’s a problem that we’ll have to work on…to motivate them to get out to vote,” Mayor Filyaw told GDN in a recent phone interview.
“I’m for voter registration and civic involvement,” Mayor Fillyaw continued, making special note of how the involvement of a diversity of activists of all colors in the civil rights movement, led by Dr. King, has “…really touched me, deeply….,” thus inspiring him to work for the betterment of all citizens.
“People take their right to vote for granted. That’s why I’m going full-speed this year and 2020…I’m going to schools, I’m going to the NAACP, I’m going to city groups, to get everybody to get out to vote, because people have paid so dearly for that right in the past.”
Fillyaw is clear that without the sacrifices of people like Rosa Parks, and those, black and white, who were killed or injured in their quest for the right to vote, he wouldn’t even be mayor now.
He’s always cognizant of his family’s humble beginnings in Eastern North Carolina.
Mayor Fillyaw’s great grandparents – Caesar and Sarah Fillyaw – began as sharecroppers in the Pender County town of Willard, where his father was born, in 1870. Years later after his father married and moved to New York City, Leonard was born, and raised in Brooklyn as one of five children.
After a stint in the U.S. Army, Fillyaw later married an Alabama native, having three children of their own. He retired as a police academy instructor for the NYPD in 1997, and moved to Teachey in 2008, eventually getting elected to the town board of commission.
Today, Mayor Fillyaw is one of just two African Americans on the town board.
“A Call to Colors,” HUBs (historically underutilized businesses, and working collectively together, are all important goals Mayor Leonard Fillyaw of Teachey, NC says he is supportive of, and urges others to do likewise.
And he sees his election victory as a harbinger of the good things that can happen when the people come out, and vote.
ORGANIZING YOUR VOTER MOBILIZATION MODEL
- Create a standing voter participation committee in your organization,
- Ask each organizational member to volunteer 8, 16, 24 hours or more perelection cycle,
- Volunteer through the NAACP or other nonpartisan organization,
- Have a member assigned to NAACP meetings to help keep your organization abreast of its civic engagement activities, and
- Keep records of your volunteer hours.
Email [email protected] with request that Greater Diversity write an article about your efforts. Enter “Article” in the subject line.
To get updated information about “A Call to Colors”, sign up to keep up with GDN’s free eNews edition at: greaterdiversity.com .