🟩In honor of Black History Month, Black Iowa News asked Black Iowans to share their feelings about the importance of Black History and voting rights — in their own words. Here’s the next installment from Iowa Democratic Party Chair and State. Rep. Ross Wilburn and First Vice Chair June Owens. Check back tomorrow for another installment. Want to share your views? Learn how below.
As we begin the celebration of Black History Month and recognize the important contributions Black Americans have made to this country, we must also remember that Black history is Iowa’s history.
My own family’s fight for freedom began in Iowa. My second-great grandfather escaped enslavement in the South and enlisted in the 1st Iowa Colored Infantry during the Civil War. Our stories and lived experiences are woven into the fabric of our state. We must teach the full truth of our state’s history — the good and the bad — so we can build a better future for every Iowan.
As we pay tribute to the Black Americans who have shaped our history and strengthened our nation, we know that one month falls far short of what these men and women deserve.
I am the child of parents who grew up in the Jim Crow South, and the struggles my family faced in the not-so-distant past are still with us. The fight for equal access to the ballot, the struggle to feel safe in our community and the barriers to ascend to higher office continue today. I may be the first Black woman to serve as vice chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, but I will certainly not be the last.
As long as we continue to move forward, the promise of a brighter tomorrow for every Iowan, no matter what we look like, is within our reach.
To mark Black History Month, Black Iowa News will publish short 💥original quotes💥 from Black Iowans on the topics of Black history and voting rights. Here's your chance to speak up about the issues you care about. Share your thoughts on Black history or voting rights by submitting your answers in the short Google Form below. It's quick and easy. Quotes will be published throughout the month of February on Black Iowa News and its social media sites. Having trouble using the form? Email your quote and photo to Dana James, founder of Black Iowa News: email@example.com.