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Guest Post: In Solidarity with "The Squad": A Letter from a Black Woman Running for Congre

Donald Trump ran on a promise to “Make America Great Again,” but it was just 45 years ago that my grandparents joined other Black folks in the second wave of the Great Migration to flee racism, bigotry, and poverty in the South only to be met with those same issues here in Chicago. Whether it's Women's March, March For our Lives, or the Black Lives Matter movement, so many of us are still paying the price in blood, sweat, and tears as we fight to not go backwards but to keep moving forward to change our country.

When we look back at this time in history a generation from now, Donald Trump will not be what stands out, it will be our silence. In a time where voting rights, reproductive health, LGBTQIA+ rights, civil rights, and the basic human dignity of immigrants and asylum seekers are under attack, we need to be crystal clear about what side of history we stand on. We can't be lukewarm, slow walk, or not show up for each other at this pivotal time.

Our silence on these pressing issues will make us complicit. Turning our heads and covering our ears will not stop Donald Trump or his base from whipping up fear and hate. This is not political, this is personal. We cannot let calls for civility and politeness be weaponized to silence us any longer.

Let's be clear - It is no surprise that the occupant of the White House has gone on a full blown attack on four American congresswomen of color. These are women from working class backgrounds who unapologetically spoke truth to power in the midterms and energized their electorates in their home districts and across the country. They electrified us because of their intelligence, their resolve, their commitment to equity, and the truth they forced the country to see about how we have systematically oppressed working class people of all types.

They represent a world where little girls who speak Spanish, rock locks or braids, wear hijabs or gold hoop earrings, and are blessed with melanin are not deterred from running for Congress, and have the confidence and tenacity to win those seats. When women of color speak up we are considered fiery, loud, aggressive, and angry. For too long, women have been grateful to just have a seat at the table and we have been told to not shake it in order to get what we need, and what we deserve. I think it's time we throw out the old table that was built to exclude others, and we build a new one with room enough for everybody.

Rep. Pressley, Rep. Taliab, Rep. Ocasico-Cortez, and Rep. Omar stand in those congressional chambers bringing the voices of marginalized communities from all across America, and they represent what is truly great about this country. They use their platforms as a mirror to help us see that we can be better than these dark times transpiring under this administration, and they remind us of how many of these issues have been here all along. They are forcing us all to rise to the occasion and to truly aspire to be the land of the free, no matter where we started from. This is our country.

I’m running for Congress because I believe in the politics of not leaving anyone behind, and I know that progress happens at the intersection of activism and legislation. Now is the time for us to elevate new leaders to organize inside of the congressional chambers and on the front lines of our districts. We can, we must, and we will fight to change this country. Thanks for giving us real #SquadGoals, ladies.

Kina Collins is a candidate for Illinois 7th Congressional District

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