Reflections on Black History Month: Yolanda Gordon
By Yolanda Gordon, Senior Associate, Expansion & Advocacy, RESULTS
February is Black History Month. At RESULTS we value the contributions of the everyday people in our network. We recognize that Black History Month is an opportunity as an organization to learn what drives our grassroots advocates of color so that we can create a future without poverty through our collective political will. Black History Month is an opportunity for us to confront our country's history, in order to shape a better path moving forward.
For the month of February, we will share a series of reflections from some of our staff and volunteers in the Black community. We are excited for their participation and to hear why advocacy is important to them.
Becoming an advocate was born out of many experiences in my life. I was born and raised in South Carolina, at one point in time the heart of Jim Crow, and grew up in a home with two working poor parents, and experienced food insecurity. The Freedom Rides crossed through my state and town where John Lewis was beaten at the local bus station. Advocacy inspiration is not hard to come by.
As an adult, I became an advocate out of survival and for my children. As a parent of three, I felt shame for being a low-income parent and becoming an advocate helped to erase the shame. It helped me put a face to the many statistics that we discuss. I felt useful and that I had a voice, and others around me encouraged me to get louder. I advocate for my kids and to leave the world a better place.
Today, with voter suppression being a bigger issue since the Supreme Court removed protections in 2013, my advocacy inspiration is Stacey Abrams, the Black Voters Matter Movement, and the countless others that have fought for my right to vote and to walk the halls of Congress to advocate for anti-poverty programs.
In the United States the contributions of Black advocates, especially Black women, have sometimes been villainized. It is necessary that we remember advocates in the black community such as Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer, both of whom dedicated their lives to fighting racial injustice behind the scenes and out in front of the crowd. The contributions of Black advocates are necessary to the conversation of justice and to end poverty.