Remarks delivered on July 4th in Terra Linda (San Rafael), CA at the Racial and Economic Justice is Our America event.
Welcome, everyone! Thank you for coming. Thank you to the League of Women Voters for helping us to get out the vote. Thank you to our census 2020 champions and April Shing for the vote t-shirt give-aways. Thank you to Johnathan Logan of Marin Community Foundation for being here today and for supporting the work of Community Action Marin to provide direct services to community in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
Everyone wearing masks and being safe?
Let me begin by honoring the Coast Miwok people on whose land we stand. I want too to honor my ancestors, those who were born free and those who were taken, brought to the shores of Puerto Rico in the late 18th century.
My name is Chandra Alexandre, and I stand for:
- self-care in a time when it’s so easy to get lost in the important work that needs to be done for racial and economic equity;
- compassion in a time when it’s so easy to be sick with anger;
- justice in a time when too may Black lives, Black trans lives, Black women’s lives, have been taken unjustly.
I invite you to take a moment now—what do you stand for?
We’re together on this July 4th at a time that has ignited many hearts to action. Fear and hatred though will not be our legacy in response. Today, it is our outrage that makes us act—that makes us come together for action in peaceful protest—that makes action meaningful for our community because we can do something that matters.
On this 4th of July, we are here because there is something that each one of us can do. We are part of a moment—and a movement if we choose—that says we matter in the fight for freedom, justice, and liberation. Because Black Lives Matter, we are here to get out the vote in this Presidential election year. We are here because we will be part of a response that eradicates white supremacy.
As the Black Lives Matter movement inspires, we are here to build collective power, as supporters and allies, to hold candidates accountable for the issues that systematically and unfairly impact Black and underserved communities: our neighbors, friends, loved ones, our families. We will come together locally to make change and we will see change happen.
In Marin, we have the greatest disparities by race in the State of California across all indicators of well-being: education, income, life expectancy. A person born in Ross will live 15 years longer on average than a baby from Marin City. We are here because that is not OK.
In Marin, just about a third of us live paycheck to paycheck—more now because of COVID-19. But it is people of color who are dis-proportionately the people of low-income in our county. People who are our essential workforce, the hospital aides and child care givers, the gas station attendants, the people who have to choose between dinner on the table for their families or paying rent—they are the ones holding up our economy now. And they are people with dreams—they deserve to be counted so that when their children go to school in a decade we will have the resources to prepare them for the life their parents worked hard to make possible for them.
How must we respond in this moment? We are here to reclaim our democracy—to commit to vote if we can—and to be counted in the census. Did you know that children 0-5 are among the most often forgotten, the hardest to count? That here in Terra Linda, it’s people over 65 who are too often left out? It matters. We want the money and attention required to do the right things for all of us in Marin, and we have the power—each one of us here—to make that happen.
Racial and Economic Justice is Our America.
Ours is a justice that centers joy and leaves a legacy of a fully representative democracy—one that embraces our unique, diverse, and beautiful humanity. As Dr. Martin Luther King reminds us, “Democracy transformed from thin paper to thick action is the greatest form of government on Earth.”
Today is a day, July 4, 2020, for that thick action. Let us celebrate this 4th of July safely and in a spirit of hope for what we can change together
Racial and Economic Justice is Our America!
Read more: Civic Engagement is the Answer to Racism We Can Do Now and our statement, Racism Must End: Our Work and Commitment