Be Bolder

I have been a fighter my whole life. Growing up during segregation in the Jim Crow era South Carolina, I know how hate and fear shape a community. I have also seen how courage and a loving spirit can overcome adversity and create lasting change.

Since the election last year, we have seen that hate and fear growing once again across our nation. Over the course of my own campaign, we have seen bullies, emboldened by the administration, spew hate and vitriol right here in our own communities. From the noose found at the African American History Museum, to the racist and hateful flyers posted in Del Ray, and the white nationalists in Charlottesville who rallied around the Confederate statue. Since I have been on this campaign we have seen the Jewish Community Center vandalized, and our Muslim brothers and sisters have been under attack.

The bullies feel empowered, they feel bold. We have to be bolder.

A social worker has many roles within the community, but primary among them is to build bridges and lift up every individual. Bringing people from a place of being despair driven to a place of hope – that is what I did for 30 years in Northern Virginia. Now is the time for bold, strong leadership for all of Virginia.

Richmond is broken and it is clear that the Republican majority in the House of Delegates is not listening to the people of Virginia. People say all politics is local, and I firmly believe that all policy should start at the local level, in the trenches and the grassroots. That is where I have been all my life, with the people who are fighting to make their neighborhood, community, state and nation a better place.

My campaign is grassroots, community based, and focused on raising the voices of all Virginians so that every individual has a place down in Richmond. I hope that you will stand with me and fight for all of our rights by supporting my campaign for House of Delegates on June 13th.

 

 

Reflecting this Memorial Day

While most of us are celebrating the “unofficial” start of summer, barbecuing with family or opening up the pool, I want to take a moment to reflect on those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. As a mother of an active duty soldier, I know what fear lies in the hearts of parents who send their children off to war. Zach enlisted at the age of 19, following in his father’s footsteps to join the military. It was 2007 and we were in the middle of a war. I sent my son off to war three times and know that I am blessed that he returned to me safe and sound.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to hear from a family whose young son made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Khizr Khan and his wife lost their son in 2004 when he sacrificed his life to save his fellow soldiers. The Khans became national figures last year, when during the Democratic Convention, they spoke out against the hate and fear mongering of Trump. They represent the heart of the Democratic Party and the values we stand for. He spoke last weekend about the need to be resilient, the need to continue to stand up and speak out for our beliefs. He told all of us to never silence our voice, that one person speaking out can have an enormous ripple effect throughout our society.

We are living in times that are troubling and fearful. People are unsure of what the future holds. Families are waiting to see if their healthcare will be taken away, children are wondering if they will come home to find their parents have been deported, women are facing obstacle after obstacle when trying to make reproductive health choices, my friends in the LGBTQ community are scared that the human rights that they recently won and fought so hard for will be stripped away, and parents everywhere are scared that their sons and daughters will be sent off to another war. In times like these it is so important that we remember what we stand for what we believe in.

I will never stop fighting back against those who try to strip away our values and the rights that our brave men and women in uniform have fought for. On this Memorial Day I’m reflecting on the words of Mr. Khan, and trying to forge a path forward through this darkness. I know that our shared vision for the future of our state can be achieved. That vision is one where we lift up all those around us and support one another through all hardships. While this is a day to remember those who are no longer with us, whose lives were cut short fighting battles to keep us all safe, we must also take the time today to think about the future of our state and this country.

Together we can create lasting change for all Virginians and all Americans.

Best,

Tilly Blanding

 

Blue Star mother Tilly Blanding and Gold Star father Khizr Khan at the FCDC Jefferson Obama dinner.