“As a Legislator, I have to push past my comfort zones and challenge the societal injustices that we have accepted as the norm.”
Last week and this past weekend, like many of you I watched the news coverage of blatant and abhorrent acts of racism across the country. This racial violence, which ranged from false accusations against Christian Cooper to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police, is not isolated. It was preceded by the deaths of Breonna Taylor and the many others whose names we’ve memorialized and the ones that never make it to the national news.
Societal racism is rooted so deep that there are fellow American citizens who have to worry every day whether the color of their skin will determine whether they live or die. Racism rooted so deep that access to high-quality education, access to jobs, and access to clean air and water is unjustly dependent upon the color of your skin. Where a virus that doesn’t discriminate on who it infects disproportionately kills black and brown people because of unequal access to healthcare and unequal distribution of wealth and employment. This racism is so pervasive that every day there is the physical and mental weight of being perpetually disrespected, dehumanized, and marginalized.
I have waited to respond to these most recent events, because I wanted to center on the voices of individuals who need to be heard and who have been screaming out for change for generations. I stand with those who are protesting as they continue to be forced to prove their humanity.
It is also important for me to acknowledge that these events are far bigger than my feelings. I have to do more than the performative acts of “standing in solidarity” or writing statements, because that won’t effectuate real change. As a Legislator, I have to push past my comfort zones and challenge the societal injustices that we have accepted as the norm.
While I may not be able to write legislation that changes how people think, I will work with my colleagues to create new public policies that fundamentally dismantle a system that perpetuates racism and education and economic inequalities.
Because the alternative is unacceptable.