By Nikki Lee
I cannot believe how quickly January flew by. While we’re not out of the woods yet, I’m hopeful for what February will bring. Healthcare professionals and volunteers are working hard to vaccinate thousands of people each week here in Tucson. I’m so grateful for these heroes in our community and I look forward to receiving my vaccine when it’s my turn.
This month, we celebrate two important occasions: Black History Month and the birthday of one of my favorite presidents, Abraham Lincoln. The issue of systemic racism is complex and intertwined with a lot of the work we do at the City: housing, public safety, development, and more. Black History Month is a reminder that it’s on all of us to show up for our neighbors and educate ourselves as much as we can.
One way I’m showing up this month is by helping introduce the CROWN Act at Mayor and Council’s February 23 study session. According to research conducted by Dove, black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work as a result of their hairstyle. And when asked whether they agreed with the statement “I have to change my hair from its natural state to fit in at the office,” black women are 80% more likely to agree than are white women. CROWN is an acronym that stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. The CROWN Act is now law in 7 states and dozens of cities across the country. I’m hoping our City can show its commitment to equity by adopting our own local CROWN Ordinance.
It makes sense that we celebrate Black History Month at the same time we celebrate a president so committed to equality and justice: Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was a true patriot. His unwavering devotion to our country and its people is a model to many elected officials, including myself. While our country looks quite different than it did in his day, I aspire to lead with humility and steadfast morals just as he did.
Wishing you a month of learning and reflection as we honor Black History Month – and a very happy birthday to the late President Lincoln on the 12th. A reminder that our first town hall of 2021 will take place on Thursday, February 25. This year, we are alternating between neighborhood town halls and full Ward town halls each month. February 25 will focus on Rita Ranch, and our March town hall will be for the whole ward. Check out our website, www.tucsonaz.gov/ward-4, for more details.
I’ll leave you with this picture of President Lincoln and I in honor of his birthday: