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  • Writer's pictureJT Wu for Georgia

OPEN LETTER & VIDEO MESSAGE: Celebrating Black History Month & Commemorating the Lunar New Year

===== OPEN LETTER: Celebrating Black History Month &

Commemorating the Lunar New Year =====

Hey y’all -

Today marks the beginning of Black History Month, a time each year to remember and honor the incredible legacy of Black Americans who built this nation, demanded and fought for freedom, and defended our nation against attacks on our civil rights.

During this time, we commemorate historic accomplishments led by African American pioneers who put themselves on the front row of history. We celebrate Ruby Bridges’s brave march to school and the principled leadership that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

We honor trailblazers like Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Shirley Chisholm and so many more, and we praise their historic legacies.

But American history isn’t just an ancient relic to be studied - it remains alive and well, shaped every day by our ongoing efforts in our communities to advance those legacies.

There are Black public servants right here in Georgia who are continuing that fight for justice and equality, including Stacey Abrams, Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock, and countless others - each of whom work every day to carry on causes of equality and voting rights first championed by those who paved the way for all of us - like our own late Congressman John Lewis.

Here in Gwinnett, from our legislative delegation to our very own Board of Commissioners, our school board, and our constitutional officers, we are led by dedicated African American public servants who are committed each day to fighting for a better tomorrow for every Gwinnettian - especially those who feel underrepresented.

Today, we recognize their extraordinary work for our community and their leadership of our county during these exceptional times.

And, in an alignment this year, today also marks the start of the Lunar New Year, when millions of Americans here and billions of folks around the world ring in the Year of the Tiger.

As an Asian American and as a son of immigrants, I recognize that my story and my difficulties are different from those faced by the African American community.

Our fights, however, are not dissimilar. We all know far too many friends and elders who have been subjected to the unjust gaze of discrimination. And, as too many tragic incidents over the last year have proven, hatred and distrust have surged across our nation, with Georgia being the site of horrific attacks that struck at the heart of both the African American and the Asian American communities.

We wept for Ahmaud Arbery just as you wept for Yong Ae Yue.

And we marched together because Black Lives Matter just as we marched together again to Stop Asian Hate.

And we continue to fight for real and equitable justice in our communities from our legislative maps to our ballot boxes. Right now in Georgia, African Americans constitute nearly a third of our population; and Korean is the third-most spoken language across the Peach State.

Our campaign is fighting to ensure that every voice is heard and every vote is counted, so that we can see this diverse population represented in our government and in our laws. In our quests for justice and our steadfast belief in the promise of the American Dream, there is more that binds the African American and Asian American communities together than anything that separates us.

There is a day yet to come when we will all enjoy true equality, and we will continue to fight for that day here in Georgia with all of our combined strength. But long and arduous journeys are made easier by recognizing the progress we have made.

As President Obama and others have so often said, Black History Month is a celebration of America through the African American spirit - the resilience, perseverance, drive, and innovation that built the bedrock of our nation.

We’re strongest when we have the courage to acknowledge our whole history and learn from those who came before, while forging a new path forward together towards a brighter future.

And so, today, as we mark both the start of Black History Month and the Lunar New Year we remember that, for all our diverse lived experiences, we fight to remain united as Georgians and as Americans - as one family joined in our quest to form that ever more perfect union.

All of us here are excited to work together each day to ensure a brighter future for our next generation, starting right here in the incredible universe of diversity that is Gwinnett County.

So let’s make time this month to celebrate our shared history and work together to honor the legacy, and, yes, the “good trouble” of the giants that came before us. From our family here at Team JT to yours, happy Black History Month - and happy Lunar New Year.

God bless y’all, and may God continue to bless our great state of Georgia.

- JT


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