Voices on the Path: Erika and Candace Hardnett

ELDER Erika Hardnett and her wife, Pastor Candace Hardnett, are the parents of three daughters ranging in age from 29 to 3 years-old.

The couple met in California where they trained in ministry together, and moved to Savannah in 2008 to start Agape Empowerment Ministries.

Candace is a Marine Corps veteran, and the couple has worked extensively with Savannah’s homeless population and advocating for LGBTQ rights.

click to enlarge The Hardnett family
The Hardnett family

Why does it matter that people educate themselves about social and racial justice?

If we are to move beyond the racial divide in this country we need those who are not affected by it to become educated. Not discussing it, and ignoring it have not made it go away. Racism continues to be a factor because the country has done nothing by way of education to dissuade it. The only way to end it, is to address it head on.

What changes are essential to bringing racial equality to Savannah?

Poverty in Savannah is astounding. Gentrification is rapid. People need a living wage, better school systems, and help in revitalizing neighborhoods that were once primarily black owned. The history of black Savannah should be preserved and not torn down.

What do you say to “all lives matter” folks?

Usually "all lives matter" folks are not safe people for us to engage in conversation with. They are the same as the Confederate flag waving, MAGA hat wearing people. We don't engage in conversations with them because they rarely see through their racism. Dealing with them is exhausting.

What are some of your favorite resources that people can use to grow a deeper understanding?

When people want a deeper understanding we refer them to the organization, Showing Up for Racial Justice. We also recommend following Jane Elliott on YouTube and attending a workshop if ever given the opportunity.

What is the most important thing that people can do at this time?

Have an open mind and heart to learn. The most important thing someone can do is learn and listen.

Is there anything else that you want to add?

Change is not easy, but it's necessary. We hope that racial justice becomes something that people work and strive toward even after the "hype" is over. Tragedies such as the murder of George Floyd are but the tip of the iceberg, we hope that people help us attack the root of this country's issues.

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