Black history is American history but it’s all too often overlooked by our history books. That’s why, this month, we celebrate the many contributions Black people have made to our country. I wanted to send you this note about what Black History Month means to me, and I hope you’ll take a moment to read it.
If we haven’t met before, I’m Congressman Colin Allred. I was elected in 2018 to represent North Texas, where I was born and raised. While there were many incredible moments on the campaign trail four years ago, one I will never forget is the day my hero Congressman John Lewis came to Dallas to help us get out the vote.
Meeting Congressman Lewis that day was an extraordinary experience for me. Here was an American hero, who spent his life working to make our country a better place, who was beaten and bruised for peacefully protesting for our voting rights. And there he was working to help get me elected to Congress.
His sacrifice made it possible for me, a young, Black candidate to run for office and it meant more than I can put into words that he came to Dallas to help me in the final stretch of my campaign.
Mr. Lewis knew that we needed to get new voters to the polls if we were going to change our country for the better. We still need to do that, and we also need to protect and expand the voting rights of every American — especially Black Americans.
For me, one of the most essential parts of Black History Month is celebrating those who came before us, who made our world a better place for everyone, and who make stories like mine possible.
While we have made progress, the unfortunate reality is that there is still inequality and injustice in every corner of our society.
We know our fight is far from over.
Republicans have gone out of their way to dilute our power and silence us time and again.
They have passed laws that make it harder for people to vote and have drawn new election maps that undermine the political power of Black communities. Not to mention our state legislature’s attempted attack on Souls to the Polls, one of the strongest traditions in the Black faith community.
That’s why we need the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act to become the law of the land.
I know that those who came before us did not suffer and put their lives on the line for us to let these anti-voter laws go into effect without a response from Congress. Folks who still believe in our democracy should be doing all they can to protect it.
So while there is more work to be done to secure the voting rights of all Americans, I hope you will join me in recommitting yourself to our fight for equal representation at the ballot box and in our halls of government.