YDMA President Campbell’s Black History Month Message
Greeting Fellow Democrats,
As this month comes to an end, I would like to take a moment to address this year’s Black History Month. Black Americans have come a long way as citizens in this country and have seen tremendous amounts of progress, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Last year was only a highlight of the systemic issues faced by Black people when it comes to policing, public health, and education due in no small part to the exacerbation from COVID-19. Despite all of these challenges, we continue to make history. We currently have the first Black Woman Vice President who is a graduate of a Historically Black University. We also now have the first Black person serving as Secretary of Defense of the United States. It is perplexing that we still have “firsts” in 2021, but we still have a long way to go with progress, as I said earlier. I always find it surreal when I tell others that I am the first Black President of the Young Democrats of Massachusetts.
With February being the shortest month of the year, we have less time to highlight some of the amazing Black History and Black leaders that have come before us: From Shirley Chisholm, to Martin and Malcolm, John Lewis, and so many more; however, I would like to remind you that Black History happens every day, not just in the 28 days of this month, and should be celebrated throughout the entire year. We cannot stop at just acknowledging Black lives. Honoring the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery is about more than putting a hashtag in your bio or having a lawn sign that says Black Lives Matter. That isn’t enough. Therefore I have an ask of everyone.
Please do not just say Black Lives Matter; show the world you believe it through your work. Call out injustices when they happen. Do not stay silent. Help Black and Brown candidates run for office rather than sit back and watch. Stand up for the overlooked and underrepresented, and LISTEN to what they have to say. Massachusetts is not exempt from the racism that plagues the United States. While we may have accomplished electing Representative Ayanna Pressley to Congress, we still have a lot of work to do as a state, as a community, and as a party to be equitable, unified, and fully support Black lives. As Audre Lorde once said, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”
Lezlie Braxton Campbell