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Serena “Rahzie” Seals was born and raised in Syracuse, NY and is a native of the city’s South Side. The daughter of a family with a long-standing history of public service in the city, she seeks to follow in her family’s footsteps, but with her own cadence. Serena is a promoter, organizer, and activist dedicated to social justice. As a leader in Black Lives Matter Syracuse, issues of police brutality are personal for Serena. Her father Thomas Seals was one of the first African American police officers in the city and a former 4th district councilor. Her grandfather, the late Rev. Hyrd Seals Sr. was a respected pastor of gospel Temple for over 40 years and served as the Syracuse police Chaplin. Serena's other grandfather, Donald Dawson was a founding charter member of the Dunbar American Legion Post 1642, of which she is an auxiliary member, has been serving the community for over 75 years. Her cousin, Jonny Gammage was killed by police.
Serena went to Corcoran High School, is a Job Corps graduate, and studied communication and public relations at Monroe Community College. She is the founder of Black Cuse Pride, an organization committed to providing access to entertainment, community resources and creating an inclusive, welcoming environment for LGBTQ people of color communities in Syracuse.
Why am I running?
Because I love my community, and I have seen, I have felt, for too long, the powerlessness, the poverty, the suffering, and the oppression, that too many people in this city face. I am running to promote means by which this community can take power for itself, power over its streets, its housing, its businesses, its policing, power that we have either ceded, or which has been denied to us. I want to make it clear that I am running under the Movement for Black lives platform. In a Syracuse where all Black Lives Matter, Everyone's life will matter. When we make sure that the most historically marginalized and oppressed have equal opportunities and a path to justice and fairness, then we achieve the ideal society where each of us matters.
My campaign calls for economic justice through living wages and job opportunities. It calls for community control from internet services to the police. It calls for investment in the things that my community needs: education, jobs, and health resources. It calls for divesting from what we don’t need: More local law enforcement that are NOT being held accountable for their actions, anchor institutions not paying their fair share in wealth, and political figures who say they care about our city but really don’t. My campaign calls for the defense of neighborhoods against predatory developers and gentrification.”