- Sarika Bansal is the only person of color in the race and would be the first Indian American to serve on this town council in North Carolina.
Sarika Bansal, the only person of color running for a town council seat in Cary, North Carolina, was in for a rude shock this week as one of her campaign signs was found vandalized, The News & Observer reported. The Indian American candidate told the daily “her head on the sign was seemingly scratched off and a photo of a Black person’s face was superimposed over her face.” The sign was found on Aug. 24 in the Highcroft Village neighborhood in west Cary, in District D where she is running for a council seat, she said. Bansal was attending the Town Council’s regular meeting when a friend texted her about the incident.
“This was shocking. … Even after the meeting, I usually walk down and talk to the council members but I couldn’t because I was so shocked,” Bansal told The News & Observer. “I came home, I had my dinner, and my phone started going crazy because it was all over social media.” She planned to file a police report the next day. According to the Observer “it is a class 3 misdemeanor in North Carolina for a person to steal, deface, vandalize or remove a political sign that is lawfully placed.
In a statement Friday, Bansal called on other candidates to “commit themselves to working for a Cary that accepts people of all backgrounds and color.”
“I am truly saddened by the act of vandalism and racism against my campaign,” Bansal said. “We must embrace diversity as a means of building strength and unity in our town. There is no place for bigotry and racism against people of color, brown or Black, in the Town of Cary.”
Mayor Harold Weinbrecht issued a statement on behalf of the Town of Cary. ”This racist, despicable act stands in stark opposition to the values we hold dear in Cary and will only serve to bring our community closer,” he said. “We will do everything we can to get to the bottom of this.”
After moving to Cary in 2015 to pursue a career opportunity in the cyber-security field, Bansal and her husband, Naresh Lunani, started a small business called Raj Jewels. Last year, she sought the District D seat after Ya Liu was elected to the state House in November. Bansal and current Councilman Ryan Eades, who was appointed, were the two finalists for the seat.
If elected, Bansal would become the second woman of color and the first Indian American to serve on the Town Council. Cary is home to over 180,000 residents, and Asian Americans make up 20% of the population.
Cary’s municipal election is on Oct. 10, weeks before the county’s Election Day on Nov. 7.