Reflections on Black History Month: Valory Means
February is Black History Month. For the month of February, we will be sharing a series of spotlights of some of our staff and volunteers in the Black community. This post features Valory Means.
I am founder of One Love America Inc. and a native New Yorker. I relocated to Georgia in 1993, where I still reside today. I launched my dream of running a nonprofit in 2019 and I became a RESULTS advocate in July of 2020.
In 2008 when our country faced a huge economic downturn, I found myself experiencing unexpected hardships through no fault of my own. I discovered that there were no safety nets in place. While the cost of living continues to rise, my reduced salary remained the same and suddenly I found myself living paycheck to paycheck. Things got so bad, even with full time employment that I began to withhold my taxes each pay period just to make ends meet.
It was then that I did some research and found that I was not alone, and I was inspired to become an advocate and launch a non-profit organization geared toward assisting working class families facing these same hardships. With the support of RESULTS, I am even more hopeful that change is possible.
The Black advocate that inspires me most is Rosa Parks because, like myself, she was an average woman whose life experiences drove her to do something that made a positive impact in her life but for others as well. Rosa Parks demonstrates that anyone can create change simply by using their voice to speak truth to power.
It is people of color in the United States and around the world who are most affected by systemic oppression, and it is people of color that can best identify ways we can be successful to dismantle it.