Dear Governor DeWine,
I am a tried-and-true Ohioan. Born in Columbus, I grew up on Madison Avenue in the small town of Marion, Ohio, not even 10 minutes down the street from President Warren G. Harding’s Mount Vernon home. My grandmother moved from Georgia during The Great Migration to find opportunities that were non-existent down south and finally found her permanent home in Marion, Ohio where she raised my mother. The same town that drove African-Americans out in the early 1900’s over a murder investigation. My father was raised in Cleveland, Ohio after his mother came from the south as well. As Juneteenth—the holiday that celebrates Black emancipation in the United States—approaches I look back at the past with heavy contemplation. The past of my people’s heritage and struggle. The past of race relations in this nation. And Ohio’s past in relation to what it means to be a citizen of this country and this state. Ohio’s past is integral to my present. To my family’s present. And to our descendants’ futures. General William Tecumsah Sherman, a Lancaster, Ohio native, put his life on the line for the Union to fight for the emancipation of my ancestors and myself. Imagine if his genius would have fell short of ensuring victory for this state and nation. But it wasn’t just his battle tactic that etched him in the memory of time. It was what he stood for even after the battle was won that made him a man of history. What I’m referring to is the legacy of Special Field Orders No. 15 written by General Sherman, known to some as “forty acres and a mule”. Both you and I know that this order was later annulled by Andrew Johnson. Unfortunately, politics became a stall to progress pushed by the maverick Republican that was General Sherman. I imagine as a politician your opportunity to make lasting changes comes around more often than the average man. But that is also a heavy and daunting responsibility. But standing for what is just and righteous separates a leader from man with a title. Against my intuitive cynicism, I want to believe that there are politicians that want to make the ethical decision. I want to believe that someone like you can step out of the shadow of people like General Sherman to cast one even longer. To be given citizenship is a given, but there is no peace in the mind of a people that are estranged to justice and restitution. Governor DeWine, I’m asking if you will0 sponsor a bill that will push for reparations for all African American descendants of Slavery in the state of Ohio. To continue the work that began decades ago. To truly bridge the gap in these torn and still segregated communities throughout the state of Ohio. We all have choices in life. And those choices ultimately matter in the grand scheme of things. If this letter can even give you a moment of pause maybe there is hope. Of course, as stated earlier I am known for cynicism. Thank you for your attention.