The passing of John Lewis has forced me to take the opportunity to reflect on what being a Black Member of Congress with him has meant to me – we are family.
We come from every part of the U.S. and most of us have not been lifelong friends. Some of us, who had participated in the political activities before being elected to Congress, had previously met. Some of us have supported and campaigned for each other before being elected. Some of us had even campaigned for opponents of each other before or during the election process, but when sworn into Congress, a special relationship ensued.
First of all, no matter where you reside in the U.S. there are many experiences we have already lived through. Whether our constituents are poor, rich, majority minority, or a small minority – we have a lot in common…we are Black in America.
We can communicate without saying a word to each other. We can read attitudes without speaking. We can communicate effectively with eye contact.
We are Black in America even when we are of mixed-race parentage or marriage, we find comfort among each other.
Often times, we share experiences that we do not share with our closest family members. It’s that common experience of sharing the heartbeat of the Nation that no other experience offers.
We work together;
Stick together; and
support and defend each other – even when we do not wholly agree.