When I announced my candidacy at 28 years old, I was one of the youngest candidates in state history. I was also the first Black woman candidate for Congress in the state’s 153 year history. And I am the first queer candidate to run for any federal office in my state’s history.

I entered this Congressional race because for far too long people like me – people who are not white, wealthy, cisgender, heterosexual men – have had to deal with representation that does not care about or reflect them. We’ve seen a skyrocketing military budget and cuts in public education. We’ve seen military conflicts that bomb children and families, and cops kill unarmed Black people with no real consequences. We’ve seen a political war on drugs that criminalizes marijuana by the same lawmakers who act mystified in how to address rampant public mass shootings. We’ve seen children in cages, homeless veterans on our streets, massive catastrophes from climate change, and families unable to afford basic health care and treatment. And we have basic conversations with politicians who are more concerned with beating each other than they are about representing their increasingly diverse districts.