Few people know that the district I represent in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly is part of the same district represented by Benjamin Franklin some 260 years earlier. Franklin’s connection to my own home, and to our national identity, is a heritage that I reflect upon often as I’ve navigated battles for LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, racial and ethnic justice, and criminal justice reform.
In short, it’s easy to identify with the birthplace of American democracy, but also to understand that the promises of our founding fathers and mothers have often times been broken and continue to be broken for so many Americans today.
Philadelphia has the distinction of being America’s “Poorest Big City,” and we have been fighting for years for adequate funding for our schools, basic protections for our most vulnerable citizens, the right to choose for millions of Pennsylvanians, the dismantling of a racist criminal justice system, and the list goes on. Ben Franklin said that our government would be a republic, if we could keep it, and for my entire time in the legislature I’ve been fighting to not just keep it but expand it to all.
In one regard, the Trump administration has worked extremely hard from day one: consistently attacking diverse Americans like my constituents, and most Philadelphians. We’ve seen increases in hate crimes, the rounding up of immigrants, and the separation of families. We’ve seen the funding for an accurate and inclusive census count gutted, trans service members, and LGBTQ Americans under attack from an administration that does not value all of its citizens.
But Philadelphia is resilient, and every day we have continued to fight back! We’re a city of soaring diversity and that is what makes us strong and vibrant — and it is with this strength and resilience in mind that I’m endorsing a candidate for president that values the power of all people to live and to contribute. Black, Brown, queer, trans, immigrant — Elizabeth Warren is fighting for all Americans and I plan to stand with her in that fight.
I believe that the antidote to the attacks on our values, the response to an administration hellbent on hurting and taking from so many of us, is to be bold and courageous. We need big structural change, our communities are suffering from epidemics of gun violence, police brutality, hate crimes, violence against our trans brothers and sisters, ICE agents ripping families apart, and in Pennsylvania we’re still fighting for basic employment and housing protections for our LGBTQ communities. The time to nibble around the edges of policy is over — the stakes are too high.
Elizabeth Warren’s story, growing up on the ragged edge of the middle class, but growing up to be a teacher, law professor, and eventually a U.S. Senator, and candidate for president of the United States is possible because we invested in kids like her — and she knows that kids in Philadelphia and across America don’t have that chance anymore, so she created a plan for that.
The plans laid out by Sen. Warren show a deep understanding of the issues facing so many of my constituents and the communities I represent. She has the most comprehensive plan for LGBTQ+ Americans that I’ve ever seen, universal child care, a plan to deal with the student loan debt crushing a generation; across the board she’s proposed thoughtful, comprehensive solutions that could transform our country for the better and continue the fight to ensure our democracy works for all of us.
Elizabeth Warren is fighting for a government that works for all of us, not just an ever-shrinking sliver at the top. She creates bold plans, and she knows what it takes to make big structural change. She’s the fighter we need in the White House, and I am proud to endorse her for president of the United States.
Brian Sims is a state representative in Pennsylvania, a civil rights attorney, and an LGBTQ activist. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSimsPA.