In late August of 1619 a ship docked at Point Comfort in the British Colony of Virginia with a cargo of about 30 enslaved Africans, thus marking the beginning of a system of chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years (Silverstein, 2019). The United States of America was built upon the backs of an entire generation of enslaved people. Black History Month is a time to reflect on the blood, sweat, and tears that made this country great, the contributions that sowed the fabric of American culture, and how much more we need to do, so that all people have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.
Black history is American history, and the BKYR made a special effort to recognize, learn, and celebrate our shared history.
In recognition of Black History Month, the Brooklyn Young Republican Club (BKYR) hosted a very special “Advancing Black Equity” panel, moderated by Spectrum News Anchor, NY1, Errol Louis on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The panel featured Republican congressional candidate running against Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Jineea Butler, Black Lives Matter Brooklyn President Anthony Beckford, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor Dr. Janice Johnson-Dias.
The purpose of this event was to drive a conversation that is often neglected on both sides of the political aisles. It was a heated, but an inspiring discussion with one goal in mind: Advancing Black Equity in Brooklyn and beyond. The panel discussed: systemic racism, building wealth, black advocacy, and the barriers hindering the advancement of black equity.
The following day marked the 160th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s historic “Right Makes Might” speech in Cooper Union’s Great Hall; a speech that would forever change the direction of the United States of America. President Lincoln stood in front of the masses on February 26, 1860, to condemned slavery, appealed to the righteous position of the free states, and spoke truth to power on what is right and wrong.
BKYR members attended The Lincoln Project’s “Country Over Party ” event at Cooper Union on Thursday, February 27, 2020. The event opened with an excerpt of Lincoln’s speech that would define the evening, “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” The Lincoln Project filled the room with a sense of hope and reaffirmed the notion that political choices are moral choices, and that unity comes not from compromise, but through shared conviction. Abraham Lincoln ended slavery because it was right. In 1880, you couldn’t become a member of the BKYR unless they supported the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments, because it was right. We stood up for what was right, fought for moral reasons, and we struck down laws for moral reasons.
The BKYR’s mission and the historical mission of the party of Lincoln is to “Advance life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all,” no matter who you are and where you come from, because we are human and most importantly we are Americans. It is in this mission and the historic reform legacy of the Republican Party towards this objective that we should see ourselves as Republicans.
Let us never forget that “Right Makes Might.”