Laphonza Butler Honors Young Americans In First Senate Address

Though her speech was full of urgency, she also highlighted her sense of hope.

Laphonza Butler, the first out person of color to serve in the Senate and the first LGBTQ+ senator from California, delivered her main address to her colleagues earlier this week. She spoke of the young American activists in our country and vowed to do what she can to support them.

“From the Women’s March to the Black Lives Matter marches around the globe, the most racially and ethnically diverse generation of our time has shown up time and time again, demanding that we do better,” Butler said. “Whether it’s the movements for gun reform, environmental protection, racial justice, or your local barista’s fight to join a union, young people are demonstrating their willingness to be the force, the energy, and the face of change. While this is true across the nation, it is especially true in my home state of California, the state home to the largest number of Gen Z-ers in our country.”

She went on to say, “It’s thanks to Kamarie’s leadership that students in L.A. have access to greater resources that they need to thrive.” Kamarie Brown was the first Black woman to be a student board member for the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2020. She was 17 year old at the time. Currently, she is attending Spelman College.

Butler mentioned the unique challenges young students face and why she feels they must be dealt with. She specifically spoke about her daughter, Nylah Grace. “My impatience emerges from listening to my own child, who at my staff holiday celebration just last year shared the story of her elementary school lockdown as if it were commonplace. My sense of urgency comes from the facts amplified by the American Psychological Association that 13 percent of high school girls had attempted suicide while 30 percent had considered it. Those numbers rose to 20 percent for LGBTQ+ students, and amongst black girls, the suicide rate rose 36 and a half percent,” she said.

Though her speech was full of urgency, she also highlighted her sense of hope.

Butler closed her address by stating, “In closing, Madam President, while I’m urgent, I am also filled with abiding hope.”

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