I Am Because We Are...

I Am Because We Are...

¡Hola!
Ubuntu is an ancient African word that means the essential human virtues of compassion y virtue -  ‘humanity to others’. In essence it means ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’ or 'I am because we are...'
There's also a saying in Swedish 'Lagom' which means 'Like Me...', or the notion every family is one and the same when it comes to love between parents and their children or the universal concept of parental love - we all want the same great things for our children. In that way, we are all the same, you are 'like me'.  
So after the many ways society and our national leaders have been faltering us, it's easy and natural to let doubt, despair and hopelessness creep in. How can we fix this? What can we do? 
"The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope." -Barack Obama
I'm a Woman. A Brown Woman. A Black Woman.  A Muslim Woman. A Politician. 
Surprised? Pleased? 
It shouldn't be shocking or surprising to see a Woman in Politics - even a Woman like ME. 
It should be the norm. 
As a Survivor of Gender-based Discrimination and Violence, I know what it's like to break barriers y beat the odds, to reclaim your identity when people want to label you without actually knowing you; yet the saddest part about running for office is hearing someone say they're shocked or calling me 'brave' or 'courageous'. 
 
See, I don't think I'm either of those things...
I look at where I came from, the neighborhood I lived in, the people who influenced me. 
I have never known anything except 'be your most excellent self no matter what the world says'. I'm not very tall and I'm not very big. 
My voice is not very loud, I'm not boisterous yet the pitch is   'loud' enough. 
I'm currently a bit hampered by these steel stilts yet I still 'walk' tall. 
I'm curvy and I'm beautiful and, most importantly, I'm a Woman.
 
I am a Woman of action.  
I am a Woman of conviction.  
I am a Woman of principal, of passion, and of purpose.
So I knew I couldn't just sit around and wait. 
I am a determined Woman. 
A resolved Woman. 
An involved Woman. 
A Woman of solution finding. 
A Woman who knows that what you focus on grows.
I am a Woman who consciously chooses to make a positive impact when my heart is called.
And, I am being called right now.
Called to take Action.
Called to Share my Talents. My Time. My Gifts. My Life. 
Called to Take a Stand.
Called to Lead.
So I am here to answer that call. 
 
{But before I was a Woman, I was a G.I.R.L. and I was a Girl Scout. and now I have a 15yo Daughter who is a still a Girl Scout and as an Alumni Girl Scout, even though I am now a Woman, I'm still a G.I.R.L. because I'm a 
Go-getter, an 
Innovator, a
Risk Taker, and a
Leader. 
And those are the skills and personal traits -  goal-setting, innovative problem solving, taking chances & embrace new experiences by taking measured/calculated risks, & being an integrity-led leader - I am teaching my daughter, her friends and the Chicas I mentor.}
 
Because I refuse to live in a society in which my daughter, her friends, the girls I mentor and your future daughters will be told they are more expected to be raped, discriminated against, overlooked, or altogether dismissed than they are to go to college, become leaders, and/or run for elected office and actually get elected. 
 
Women only hold about ~20% of the seats in Congress. And Women of Color hold even fewer seats at ~7%. We need to train and support more women to run for elected office then work earnestly to actually get them elected
 
We can do it if we work together to stop letting women and girls think politics and politician are dirty words. 
If we start telling our daughters, nieces, granddaughter and other young girls that they are princesses, queens and politicians from the very moment they decide to stand up for another person or express interest in their community. 
That we not base someone's political capability on what they have, who they are related to, their financial worth or how they look. 
That we will not silence them just because their beliefs or opinions may not align with the 'majority'. 
That when they look in the mirror, they are looking at a leader. 
My family and I have lived in this District for many years, so I feel a strong connection to the community. I moved to to the area in 1992 after college, living in Kensington, EC, Albany, ES. My husband grew up in Berkeley, Albany, Kensington. I've worked in Oakland the past 14y, done volunteer work, mentored y shuffled my trio to their activities y sporting events throughout Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville, Tara Hills/San Pablo, Hercules, Richmond, Pinole. 
 
I strongly believe in contributing to my community and I have done so for the past 25+ years since moving to the Bay Area, including these last decades of working in this particular Albany y Richmond areas. We have two sons in college, one a recent Morehouse graduate now pursuing his MBA and the other a junior civil engineering student at Morehouse, and a daughter who is beginning her senior year at Albany High in a couple of weeks. They have been volunteering in the community since primary school. My oldest son was featured in the local paper for organizing a charity drive during Hurricane Katrina.
 
I have an extensive background in science and law and a passion for advocating for the rights of women y girls, civil rights and social justice, economic empowerment, mentoring youth y young women, leadership development, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education, disAbility rights & Wounded Warriors/Veterans rights advocacy, access to quality & affordable healthcare, human rights, and poverty alleviation.
 
My character and leadership – both, unwavering, undeterred, strong, & perhaps even 'courageous' - ensure I will positively impact the youth, communities, and families of AD15 in building safer communities, creating  job opportunities with living wages, working with our district attorneys and law enforcement officials to improve our criminal justice systems, maintaining cleaner environments, finding creative solutions to our housing crisis, attaining affordable y sustainable healthcare plans so all have access to quality y affordable healthcare, improving our public schools so all of our children have access to quality education y resource materials, establishing a collective strategic accountable fair equitable collaborative criminal justice system that works for all of us. I plan to lead with integrity and be the example and will be unafraid to be held accountable for my actions or inactions. 
 
Before I decided to enter this race, I had to ask myself: Am I in this for the long haul? Am I committed to truly helping people? Am I a person who wants to make a difference? And when I knew I could answer an unequivocal and resounding Yes to all three questions, I announced my candidacy. 
So now I come before you all and ask you to join me. I ask you to stand with me to show exactly what it looks like to...
fight like a G.I.R.L., 
run like a G.I.R.L., 
win like a G.I.R.L, and 
lead like a G.I.R.L.!
 
~ME
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Cheryl Sudduth
Stand ToGETHER Elected!
United, We Are Change.   
www.cherylsudduth.com
P.O. Box 20122 ~ El Sobrante, CA 94820-0122
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