When I first started speaking at City Council meetings, it wasn’t safe for me to cross the street alone. I didn’t have all my hair. My voice quavered, and it still does.

When I first started speaking at City Council meetings, I had chemo induced acne. I was thin, and frail, and weak. I couldn’t stand to speak. But I wanted to.

When I first started speaking at City Council meetings, I didn’t know if I was going to live or die. But I slowly got stronger, I grabbed hold of life. And now I stand to speak.

Freedom and democracy are precious. And hard work. But it is work that just might save your life.

Liberty and Justice for All require that we follow the rule of law. They require the equal application of the law to all. And that requires our attention. It requires our conversation. It requires us to ask questions of ourselves and each other and seek the answers. Not from our so called leaders and representatives, but from the laws and written and approved rules and procedures that govern our leaders and representatives. Democracy requires that we speak truth to power. And it requires us to work to change laws that are unjust.

If we are not ready to do all of that, we can at least show up and occupy a seat at our local public meetings. We can find the strength to cross the street, even if we need help. We can show up, even if we are frail. We can show up even if we have lost half our hair. Even if our skin is no longer as smooth as it was in our prime. And hey, even if you’re still in your prime, or if you never had a prime, you can still show up and occupy a seat.

Democracy is precious. It can’t exist without us. What are you waiting for?

HARVEST McCAMPBELL

Raymond

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