The term “Black Lives Matter” has been with me since I was 8 years old. Back then it meant something entirely different. I grew up in Jackson Heights and Corona, which were very ethnically, socially, and economically diverse neighborhoods in Queens.
My father was an insurance agent and always had me with him when he visited his clients in Corona. I had the opportunity of meeting the finest Black residents of the community, including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald along with everyday housewives, working men and their children. I heard their stories about the struggles and successes in their daily lives.
I am so proud that I have this background. It formed who I am today. The civil rights movement and the Democratic Party were, and are, still foremost in my life. Working for Black candidates brought me to understanding the importance of the special leadership that they would bring to the public and to their own constituents. It was uplifting to all of us.
North Hempstead Town Councilwoman