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WHAT IT MEANS: Davis says we can dream a little bit bigger thanks to civil rights icons
Charika Davis
Charika Davis

About this Series: Throughout the month of February, "What It Means: A Black History Month Series" will tell the story of leaders within Newton County's Black community, while highlighting the importance of Black History Month and acknowledging the continued progress toward reaching equality.

COVINGTON, Ga. — Shirley Chisholm. Dorothy Height. Medgar Evers. Maya Angelou. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The contributions and advancements of these landmark figures within the Black community, among many others, have inspired young men and women of color to shoot for the stars.

Newton County native Charika Davis said it was because of these men and women that her “days are a little bit brighter” and “can dream a little bit bigger.” That’s why Black History Month means so much to her.

“Black history means being reminded of Black excellence,” Davis said. “It gives everyone the time to reflect on the great things that African Americans have done in this nation, from Shirley Chisholm being the first Black woman elected to Congress to Dorothy Height working to advance women’s rights. It is extremely important for us as a community, state, and nation to take this time to reflect and acknowledge the contributions and advancements of and for the Black community. Reflecting is part of the journey, and I certainly don’t take anything for granted that my forefathers accomplished before me. My days are a little bit brighter because of them and I can dream a little bit bigger. When I think of contribution and advancements I think of Maya Angelou’s ‘Still I Rise’ and the confidence and self-respect that this poem gave me and reassured me that I deserved and needed a seat at the table. I also think about Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers who worked tirelessly for the movement and sacrificed his own life for the movement.”

At 10 years old, Davis said she became most inspired by King’s legacy of activism and leadership. More than 30 years later, she tries to emulate King’s character as a recently elected Covington City Council member representing the West Ward in Post 2.

“He was able to help end segregation through non-violence,” Davis said of King. “Even though he was mistreated time and time again, he still chose passive resistance. My favorite quote by King will always be, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’ I definitely try to lead with love.”

Davis said she was fortunate to grow up in a setting she described as a good quality of life. After graduating from Newton High School, Davis was able to further her education and earn a bachelor degree in political science from Georgia College & State University and Master of Business Administration from Strayer University. Aside from her political position, Davis also works as a team manager in the insurance industry. 

But Davis said she also understands that not everyone has been so lucky, and she wants to help those who may be struggling as much as she can. She wants to be a voice and sounding board for her community on all issues and concerns.

“There are many single moms and dads who are struggling financially,” she said. “Rent is steadily going up in Newton County. Loved ones are being lost to COVID every day. Groceries and gas [prices] are going up. Inflation is at an all-time high. 

“I am here for my constituents,” she said. “I am a phone call away. I listen, and I try to help as much as I can and provide resources for those in need.”