“If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.”

These words from the late honorable John Lewis echoes in my mind as I think about the work we do here at EPiC through our PAAC initiatives. I often wonder “am I doing enough?” or “how am I doing my part to continue this great legacy?” As we mourn the loss of one of our greatest freedom fighters, I think about the ways in which congressman Lewis’ work will live on through us. As parents of Black children, we are faced daily with an almost impossible task to keep our children safe and ensure that they receive an excellent education in an environment full of systemic challenges, designed to disadvantage our children. In spite of these challenges and systemic inequities, we each continue to stand up for not only our children, but for all Black children in this system, and that is precisely the legacy that John Lewis leaves behind.

Each day we have an option to see injustices or inequities and accept them, ignore them, or to give our energy towards dismantling them. Black folks do not have the same privilege in relation to many of our white counterparts when we speak up and out for our children. While some of us have been fortunate enough to achieve levels of economic stability and advocate for more opportunities and access for our children, we realize that systemic barriers continue to exist at every turn. While we recognize that affluence for some Black folks most certainly does not mean equity for these same Black folks. Ones level of affluence could make some Black folks complacent, see these educational inequities, and say “well, that’s not my problem.” Instead, every PAAC member has made a choice to continue to stand up for their children and the children of Black parents at every socioeconomic level in our community. That’s the spirit of John Lewis, because we know that as his dear friend Dr. King says “injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.”

I am proud to stand with every one of our PAAC members as we fight to ensure that our children receive the highest quality education, and to carry on, in our own special way, the legacy of the ancestors who came before us. We stand on the shoulders of giants. Rest in Power Honorable John Lewis.

~Charity Gunn
Sr. Program Strategist