We can’t escape race and gender, so let’s talk about it up front.

I am a dark Latina woman, a proud immigrant and a proud American.  My Dominican ancestors came as slaves from West Africa and Central Africa between the sixteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

I recognize my debt to America’s civil rights leaders and protesters who won for me the right to an equal place in our society today. Thanks to them we’ve made progress, but there is still more to do and more inequality to fight. That’s why the Black Lives Matter movement is important – because it calls for us to correct the continuing racial disparities in our policing and justice systems, and also why I was proud to sponsor Maryland’s marriage equality law.  I also fought hard for years for legislation to prevent discrimination against transgender Marylanders and I proudly co-sponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Civil Rights Restoration Act to enforce fair wages regardless of gender.

Women often find themselves working twice as hard, yet they are often overlooked when it comes to recognition, pay and support. We need to use these experiences to grow stronger and more persistent.  People say that I’m tenacious — that I don’t quit.  I must be.  There is too much important work to be done to let barriers get in our way.  I will continue to fight hard for equality and women’s issues. Your daughters and mine deserve a more equal America.