February 22, 2007
By Senator Lena C. Taylor
Throughout February, as we celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans around the nation, we must remember that the word “history” does not just mean yesterday. Indeed, our brothers and sisters are making history each day, breaking down barriers, and moving us all towards a brighter tomorrow.
Many people have been energized by the possibility of an African American running for President, and rightfully so. However, even when an African American does reach the oval office, the fight will not be over. We need women and people of color at every level of government, and we need them now.
Today, I want to challenge each of you to consider the possibility of representing your community. Whether it is on the City Council, School Board, State Legislature, or as a member a Neighborhood Association or Community Group. There is a big HELP WANTED sign on the doors of power, and we need you to submit your resume!
I know you are thinking: “what could I possibly do?” Many of us are lead to believe that we are powerless. We are told that we have no say, and that we need to sit down and be silent. But you have the power within you to create positive change for our community.
All it takes is for you to step forward, and say “I will be heard, I will be part of the change.” One of my favorite quotes is from Gandhi, who said that we must all “become the change we wish to see in the world.” That is my challenge to you. You have the power within you, and I promise you that you have the strength as well.
I am always reminded of the story of a woman in our community who fell victim to predatory lending practices. Outraged, she organized her neighborhood around the issue, and created a community owned credit union. Later, she would be elected to the Wisconsin State Senate, and later to Congress. This of course, was Congresswoman Gwen Moore.
This is a perfect example of what you can truly accomplish when you stand up and make yourself heard. So say it with me! Say “I will be the change our community needs.” Say, “I will take on a leadership role!” Say “I know I have it in me to make our community a better place.”