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A Village Paved Forward

Jhahbriel Moore-Butler

As a southern gay man raised by two strong African American women and influenced by so many others throughout my life; VP Elect Kamala Harris embodies the strength and courage of the sisters who shaped the “VILLAGE” that co-created a space that allowed little boys like me to become men of virtue, respect and honor.

My mother, the late Bernice Daniels Moore was around 16 ½ when she became pregnant with me and 17 when I was born.  Yes, married with a kid at 17 to later divorce with two kids at 22.   I know for some of you reading this, will be a little taken back however; it was pretty common back in those days, demographics etc. to start a family early.  Actually, by the time my grandmother was 17, she had already birthed 3 children. 

As my mother’s first born and really feeling like I grew up with her, I got first-hand front row seating to the life of single hardworking mothers.  It was not until I became what my mother feared; that then I would truly understand the diverse struggles of single mothers or women in general. Her example shaped the way I parented my son as a single father and because I exercised two roles; I paid lot of my mother’s and grandmother’s parenting skills forward.

The “Village” I was blessed to be a part of included women both related by blood or by love.  Each one carrying the weight of our community, the knowledge, experience, lessons that brought them to a place of forgiveness, a space to plant seeds in the children hoping to stop generational behaviors meant to destroy growth and development. 

Throughout my life, I have often reflected on my childhood the “Village” and now understand why I connect and gravitate towards women; especially strong women who continue that influence, that passion to make our community safer, stronger; giving our children a pathway to success. 

Vice-President Elect, Kamala Harris in my opinion, reflects the “Village” in a way that for some can be debatable or others not so much.  She has always faced tough questions over her record on criminal justice issues — a record that’s led some critics to describe her not as a progressive reformer but as a relic of a “tough on crime” era dating back to the early 1990s and 2000s.  As a Harris’s supporter, my argument is that these criticisms sell her short, not even considering the times she was ahead of the country and the Democratic Party on criminal justice issues — much like when she implemented prison diversion programs as district attorney and a “first-of-its-kind” racial bias training for police officers.  It’s in my opinion that Harris is cut from the same fabric that was woven throughout the “Village” of women who again wanted better for our community. 

I echo Lily Adams, Spokesperson for Kamala Harris;

“Kamala Harris has spent her career fighting for reforms in the criminal justice system and pushing the envelope to keep everyone safer by bringing fairness and accountability,”

Today, I solute the women of the "Village". It is through your pain, your struggle, your sacrifice that I continue to uplift our community, position others to great success and most of all pave the "Village" forward!

VP Elect Kamala Harris

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In Loving Memory

Bernice Daniels Moore

1955-2006