February is Black History Month. It is an opportunity to remember where we have come from as a country and a time to think about where we still need to go.
It has been a year marked by racial unrest in many parts of the country, including here in New York. I am hopeful that we can all take steps as citizens to heal the rifts that have come to the fore.
As I walked out of the Assembly chamber following the election of Carl Heastie as the new Assembly Speaker on Tuesday, I realized that we, as a governing body, had written a new chapter to be included in Black History Month. Heastie is the first African-American speaker in the history of the New York State Assembly. I am certainly proud that I was able to play a part in his selection and hope that this signals a turning point in the way business is done in Albany. I wish the new speaker every success.
I do believe that these incremental “firsts’ make a difference. Change is not always swift but when committed, dedicated and energized people come together, good things can happen for New York.