#CelebrateBlackHistory – DNC Black Caucus Chair Virgie M. Rollins

What inspired you to get involved in politics?
The Civil Rights Movement inspired me to get involved with politics. Injustices like systematic disenfranchisement of Black people, segregation, hate crimes, discrimination, and the denial of voting rights were issues that left me wanting to change the law to better the conditions in our community. The only way for me to help change conditions was to get involved and elect people who looked like me, and who would also fight along with me, to improve conditions for the Black community.

Why are you a Democrat?
I am a Democrat because Democrats are more sensitive and connected to issues that are important to me such as improving life for the middle class, a livable wage for working families, compassion for those mired in poverty, to clothe and shelter the working poor and homeless, making sure that jobs are available for everyone, and providing health care for all.

Why should African Americans be involved in political process?
African Americans should always be involved in politics to ensure that the full breadth of the American experience is reflected at all levels of government. When we vote, our collective power combats those who would suppress the vote or gerrymander districts that dilute and weaken  our representation. By voting, we work to reverse the existence of glaring disparities in the education, justice, and the health care systems. The safety and quality of the car you drive, whether you have fresh fruit and vegetables in your local grocery stores, and your job opportunities all depend on your elected representation. Our rights to enjoy full American citizenship are constantly being challenged. It is important for us to be involved in the public policy process to ensure the laws are written to protect our rights.

What does Black History mean to you?
Black History Month is a time to reflect on all the great people and extraordinary leaders who have given us so much. It is an opportunity to highlight crucial historical memories and events in our history. This is a time to educate and share the history and accomplishments of African Americans that are often ignored and not learned about in schools. Black History Month to me means bringing our history which is inextricably intertwined with American History to life.

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