When the clock struck noon on December 3, 2012 in Sacramento, Cheryl Brown took the oath of office along with 79 other assemblymembers. Cheryl will represent the newly created 47th district and serve under the leadership of Assembly Speaker John Perez.
One reason this is historic is because Cheryl’s family came up from Georgia and North Carolina through Pittsburg, Pennsylvania before calling California home in the late fifties. As a teenager, Cheryl began her work experience cleaning rooms in Palm Springs hotels, picking onions in the agriculture fields in Perris, and as a store clerk at Harris Department Store in San Bernardino, along with her baby sitting jobs in the neighborhood.
I recalled her past as I sat beside her in the Assembly Chambers and watched her take this mighty oath of office to defend the constitutions of the United States and California. I said to myself, “where would you be without the Lord on your side?”
I was thinking of our four children, Lynn Renee Summers, Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds, Hardy II, Regina Wilson and their families watching their mother take the oath of office with pride beaming from their faces. They were watching their role model still providing leadership for them to follow as citizens in this great state. They are proud of the recognition she is getting because others are now finding what they have known all of their lives. This was the first time many of them had ever been inside the capitol and now her name was on the door along with a picture hanging in the Legislative Gallery with other legislators who will now make laws for everyone to live by.
I also thought of her years of preparation in school by graduating from San Bernardino High School, San Bernardino Valley College and California State University San Bernardino with a degree in Urban Planning.
I thought of her years of volunteering on many civic boards and commissions in the city and county, especially the United Way and their member organizations and her favorite church membership at St. Paul AME where she serves as a Trustee under Pastor Larry Campbell.
I thought of her taking our idea of starting a family business with a newspaper that no one was reading and only five hundred copies being printed a week with no advertising. She took on the task of writing stories of people whose voices were not being heard and gave them life. It not only carries the news but it provides employment for family members and others in the community. One employee has been with her for over twenty years, not bad for a small business owner named Cheryl Brown.
I thought of my all time favorite movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. None of this would have happened to me and countless citizens if Cheryl had not been born and had not prepared herself for the opportunity that presented itself. Many people want to do big things but do not want to do the work, put in the time of not being seen where the real work is done and preparation necessary when the opportunity presents itself. Something I learned as a young Boy Scout Troop was our motto: Be Prepared.
I thought of the ones who supported her from day one and never doubted she would win the election. I thought of 95-year-old Mabel Kearney of Perris, CA., who gave all she had, $5.00 and said I am praying for you. Then there was Michael Teer, Realtor in Riverside getting his association to support her big time. Nancy Wilson, Hal Williams, Bill Cobbs from the entertainment industry supported their friend Cheryl and too many local elected officials from both political parties stepped forward against intimidation and said I know Cheryl and I am supporting her.
I thought of her many friends who gave whatever they could give, 75% of her primary election funds came from citizens in the Inland Empire.
One cannot forget the second half of the campaign when the California Legislative Black Caucus led by Senator Curren Price, decided to make Cheryl their number one priority and sent Sebastian Ridley Thomas to be her campaign manager. This young political guru worked 24/7 from June until the polls closed in November.
I saw many people and organizations call to congratulate her and visit her on Monday in Sacramento. I saw her take the time with a blind man that stopped by the office to learn if she was sensitive to people with disabilities. She called me over to share with him my story and he left smiling with joy that she knows his plight as well.
Yes it was historic for Cheryl and our family and a special tribute to her mother, Melba who was a part of the Los Angeles Democratic Party.
Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown, CONGRATULATIONS from me, your family, and Black Voice News Family.