Germantown resident Karla Ballard, 49, who went to Houston Elementary School in Mt. Airy and graduated from Germantown Academy in 1990, has had careers in banking, the mobile app business and lofty …
Germantown resident Karla Ballard, 49, who went to Houston Elementary School in Mt. Airy and graduated from Germantown Academy in 1990, has had careers in banking, the mobile app business and lofty nonprofit sector positions, but she is doing something right now that not many people can claim. She is the Vice-Presidential candidate for the Independent Party, one of many very small parties that you probably never heard of.
Of course we know that either Kamala Harris or Mike Pence will be the country's next Vice-President, but before you scoff at other candidates whose names are essentially unknown outside of their friends and families, I would like to point out the following: According to globalnews.com, more than five million votes, or more than 4.2 percent of all votes cast, were for small third parties in the 2016 Presidential election.
Looking at it another way, in Pennsylvania 68,012 votes separated Trump and Clinton, but more than 212,500 voters cast ballots for third-party candidates. In Florida Trump received 122,955 more votes than Clinton, but more than 250,000 votes were cast for third-party candidates. So third-party candidates may actually decide the election this year by the number of votes they take away from the major party candidates.
Ballard, who is distantly related to Florence Ballard, a member of Diana Ross & the Supremes, said she was asked to run by the Independent Party, which will be on 16 state ballots but not in Pennsylvania. "I've been troubled by the dialogue happening across our country,” she said, “where critical issues that affect us as a human race get broken down along partisan lines. My life's work has been devoted to finding solutions and bringing people together across all cultures and party lines.
“When Brock Pierce (the party's presidential candidate) approached me to join his visionary campaign as his Vice President, I knew this was the next step I should take," said Ballard. “There is a duopoly right now, and young people want their voices to be heard. We will not win, but we want to show young people that there is another option. I come from a family with military and police members. My grandfather was the first black Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector, so we are not for defunding the police. We are for increased cultural and sensitivity training for police and workers compensation for mental health for those who protect us. We support the police with the challenges they face every day.
“I love the Black Lives Matter movement, but I also have a great deal of interest in the 'Black Contract,' which looks at the economic gaps. We need to fill in the gaps between low income communities (and the rich) and on healing racial divisions. There is too much toxicity. How do we heal? That is what we have to focus on.”
Ballard is the founder (in 2015) and CEO of YING, a peer to peer skill-sharing platform (IOS /Android App) engaging consumers and brands in a complimentary currency. In other words, if a member does a task for you, he/she builds up social credits that can be used at a later date for a task that person may need. No money changes hands. It is an alternative way of doing business.
After graduating from the University of Virginia as an English major, Karla was hired by a bank, MB&A America, where she worked on community-related projects and helped to establish the MB&A Delaware Scholars Foundation. “I got the community bug and took a leap of faith,” she said, leaving her bank position after three years to get involved in various nonprofit projects.
For example, in Wilmington she co-founded a chapter of the Urban League, an organization aimed at empowering people of color. She later went to work as the Senior Vice President of Participant Media’s TAG Division, a social action agency working with brands, foundations and the public sector “to ignite compelling campaigns to drive impact in vulnerable communities.”
Karla has also been active in working to raise awareness of the effects of PTSD on veterans, collaborating with Blue Star Families, a national non-profit dedicated to strengthening America’s military families.
One fascinating aspect of Ballard's family history is their connection to Thomas Jefferson's notorious Vice-President, Aaron Burr. “For many years there was talk that we were related to Burr,” said Ballard. “When the show 'Hamilton' came out, we did DNA testing, and the findings confirmed that we are in fact related to him. The family is now comfortable with it, and the Aaron Burr Association has been welcoming. We even have his family bible!”
For more information, visit yingme.co. Len Lear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org