An interview with Madison Kimrey, the incredibly well spoken twelve year-old activist who's taking on Governor Pat McCrory in North Carolina.

Madison Kimrey
Madison Kimrey

Madison Kimrey is a 12-year old girl from Burlington, North Carolina. She’s learning to ride a horse, she loves shopping with her mom, this interview had to wait until after Halloween and she recently appeared on MSNBC with Melissa Harris Perry and Al Sharpton. Yes, MSNBC. Madison Kimrey is also a fiery and passionate political activist in a state being run into the ground by its governor, Pat McCrory. The same Pat McCrory who was forced to scale back an estimated $230,000 in repairs to bathrooms at the governor’s mansion because of negative press.

Allow me to introduce future president Madison Kimrey:


A lot of people on both sides of the political arena have called you a “prop,” and questioned your motives because of your age. What do you say to people who think you are being used by the left?

I want to remind them that I’m raising awareness on the issue of  pre-registration to help kids on the right, too. The majority of teens here in NC who pre-registered did that as independents. That means these teenagers are sending a message they want to consider all the candidates and positions on the issues before they make a choice on who to vote for. That’s responsible citizenship. One of the points I’ve seen made in favor of pre-registration is that having more young people registered to vote will mean candidates will be more inclined to target young voters and will have to keep them in mind when developing their platforms. Considering that we are going to be the ones running the country someday, I think this is a good thing. 


How did you become a part of Moral Mondays?

When I went to my very first Moral Monday, I was really surprised. There were so many people there and they were representing so many different issues. It was like a rock concert for ideas. I can promise you that not all of those thousands of people agreed on all the issues, but they still came together in the name of creating a state with a government that works for everyone. That’s the best thing about Moral Mondays for me. I like just being there and being just one of those people. I tend to find the most quiet place I can when I go and just watch and listen.

At Charlotte Moral Monday, I watched most of it from up in a tree. The most powerful Moral Monday I went to was the youth Moral Monday in Raleigh. It was smaller than some of the others, but Reverend Barber was there and he talked to the young people directly. He told us that we are never too young to stand up for what we believe in. He told us that we shouldn’t fight with people and instead try to look for bipartisan solutions to our problems. It was an inspiring message and an example of positive leadership to the youth who attended.


Tell Quiet Mike readers a little about your issues with North Carolina governor Pat McCrory.

Governor McCrory seems to be out of touch with the fact he represents not just the people he agrees with, but all the people of North Carolina. While I disagree with him on many issues, there are things I’ve read about that we actually agree on. This is why I wanted to meet with him. I thought if we could sit down together and have a respectful conversation, it would show our respective “sides” exactly what democracy is supposed to look like.

When he went on that radio show and said, “This is all very liberal groups using children as I think, um, props, to push a very far left agenda,” that was disappointing to me. It wasn’t particularly hurtful to me personally, but it was disappointing to hear the leader of our state sending this message to young people. I think any elected representative should be sending a message to the young citizens that encourages them to pay attention and take action, not a message that dismisses them and belittles their voices. 


You are featured in a short film, “Little Red Riding Hood,” that tells the story of Trayvon Martin from a very different perspective. Was it difficult to portray a young girl whose life ends so similarly to Trayvon’s?

When I first read the script, I was very excited about it. I had followed the Trayvon story and was really honored to be a part of a film that made people think. Then I started thinking about the parts of myself I could bring to this character. That part of it was difficult because I knew that had the story happened the way it was shown in the film, people would have had a much different reaction to the events. We still live in a world where people view issues differently based on race no matter how much we may want to deny that. 


If Governor McCrory ever responds to your request for a meeting, what are a few questions you’d like him to answer?

Well, like I told Al Sharpton, if I say what I would say to the Governor, there is really no point in meeting with him. I want to talk to him about pre-registration and hear what he has to say. I want to find something we agree on as to how young people can be encouraged to take part in our democracy and then I will ask him how I can help him to put that plan into action. That doesn’t mean I will stop trying to restore pre-registration for teenagers in NC. It doesn’t mean I’ll campaign for him in 2016. What it does mean is that even people who disagree can put the party politics aside, find places where they do agree, and work together on solutions that benefit everyone. 


How do your friends at school feel about your activism? Are they supportive?

I have a lot of my friends who don’t agree with me on every issue, and even some friends who are totally opposite of me in their political views. But everyone has been extremely supportive of what I’m doing. I’m really glad my friends don’t treat me any differently because of all this. 


Do you have any interest in ever running for public office?

It’s always a possibility. Right now, I’m really thinking about a possible career in journalism. I love the arts, so that’s another career path that’s possible. I really try to think more of what I want to be doing right now and how I can get there than worry about what I’ll be when I grow up. The future will come. 


Who are your heroes?

Zack Ford of Think Progress is a big hero of mine. He writes about LBGT rights issues and that’s a topic I’m passionate about. I saw the way he was using his writing to raise awareness and make a difference and that’s what got me to start writing about issues. Kimberley Johnson is a huge inspiration to me. She’s a writer too and an activist. She has a great sense of humor and often brings that to her writing, but she hits hard on serious issues such as getting the ERA passed so that women are guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution.  I consider her to be a role model, friend, and mentor.

I wouldn’t be talking to you right now if it weren’t for Mark Sandlin. He’s a writer and a pastor. He’s a founder of The Christian Left and when I first started my petition, they were one of the first groups that helped me spread the word about it. My parents are Christians, but I don’t identify as a Christian. Mark’s message is inclusive of everyone and is about people working together to bring about positive change regardless of how their spiritual beliefs may differ. I have hometown heroes too. Walter Boyd is involved in community theater with me. He gets involved in some way in just about every local show, whether it be acting, promoting, or helping out behind the scenes. He’s especially encouraging to young actors. Really, it’s ordinary people who are out there making a difference that are the real heroes in my opinion. 

Madison Kimrey is a powerful voice, not only for youth in North Carolina, but for people all over this country. She’s no prop, she’s a normal kid who saw injustice and decided to stand up and fight. Thank you Madison, for answering these questions and for showing young people they have a voice and they can use it.

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  1. This is why the left must steal billions of $’s for failed preschools, Common Core & Social Justice crap in Universities….populate the society w/Fabian Marxism. Predictable as Rain…Moveon, Cultural Marxism, Alinsky Tactics are the cancer that lead to >100,000,000 citizen democideds by Coomunist Governments in the 20th Century! destroy ,

      • This is your reply, guessing my status. You try to blame it on a demographic. Wrong guess.
        Mike, it’s not ones’ status, it’s their mind set. Quit thinking negative. You have got to quit blaming your missed opportunities on others. I truly say this out of kindness.

        • It’s not a way of thinking, it’s a reality. But if you can’t empathize, you’ll never understand. How can a white middle class male understand a law that mainly affects poor minorities?

          • White, not middle class. I came out of Gov’t housing and know what it is like to pay for groceries with food stamps. Today neither of my five siblings or I depend on the gov’t. Only because we didn’t ourselves to be victims.
            Mike this started about a young girl thinking she can demand the time of a governor. While he is a public servant and could answer her questions, that is not the purpose of his position. There are plenty of people between Madison’s parents and the governor that could answer her questions, slanted left or right.
            Let me be clear, I am plaesed that she is concerned about the issues of our country. More people need to wake up and get involved before it is too late and opportunity for the poor and minorities are gone.

  2. I am not being fascetious when I say I was very much like her when I was a kid. My parents were actually stunned when I sat down to watch the news. When I was Madison’s age, Watergate had the attention of every person in the country. It made me a lot more vigilant about my personal politics.

    • The only activist thing I did as a kid was set up a table outside my classroom with a friend and raise money for Greenpeace. I was a late bloomer, politically speaking. I do remember choosing to watch Mikhail Baryshnikov on 60 Minutes instead of Lief Garrett on the Donny and Marie Show. Not sure what that means.

  3. This just goes to prove something I have contended with people since I was about her age. Just because you are a child, does not mean you are not aware of and concerned about what is being done to you and in your name by adults. The really sad part of this though is that she is acting far more adult, than the adults she is contending with who summarily dismiss her as unimportant because she’s a child.

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