As told to Darralynn Hutson by Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence

Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) is planning her upcoming retirement and wanted to discuss her legacy, and the work she’s accomplished during her tenure in Congress with BLAC.  Retiring after 30 years in public service and nearly 8 years in Congress, Lawrence served as Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, 2nd Vice Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations, and Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. Hear Congresswoman Lawrence  in her own words share her plans for the future.

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence: Photo provided by Congresswoman Lawrence

BLAC: Why retire now?

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence: “I lost two sisters in twelve months; I am the only sibling left. I don’t have a brother, sister, mother, father, uncle or aunt and my family needs me.The pandemic has just been hard. I’m so grateful for the path the little black girl from the eastside of Detroit has gathered. The trust of people has given me the opportunity to serve. I want my legacy to be that I kept my oath of office and that I did serve and was a good public servant. There is a time and season for everything and I looked at this a long time before I made my decision.”

BLAC: What’s next for you congresswoman Lawrence?

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence: There are multiple ways that you can serve and I truly believe my calling is to be a public servant. If you look through my book of life, you’ll see that I have had this amazing life and if you really read a really good book you can’t wait to turn the page and read the next chapter and that’s where I am now. I’m excited about being able to turn the page and find new ways of sharing, nurturing and promoting the community by being a role model;  lecturing, tutoring whatever it takes to instill all of this opportunity. I think about that a lot. Growing up on the eastside of Detroit by a grandmother, Etta Cranford, who didn’t have a high school education; my mom dying when I was 3, so my grandparents and my dad had to raise me. To be the one person in the family to complete college and to be elected to a public office. 

There is no way I cannot believe that God’s grace has given me this opportunity and you know that old saying, ‘to those much is given, much is expected.’ 

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BLAC: What are your biggest concerns as you retire during an important election?

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence: I can tell you, high on my list of concerns and has really motivated me to continue to work, because this thing we call democracy is so tragic right now. This thing – ‘one nation under God and divisible with liberty and justice for all,’  doesn’t just happen; we had to fight to get here. Some people have become complacent and I would say lazy that they think just because I am who I am, I am entitled to this right. I firmly believed that as human beings, we have certain rights that our government should work hard to protect and to ensure that they’re fair; but we have to continue to work. 

BLAC: Who are you supporting in November?

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence: In the primary, I am supporting Whitmer In this election, I am not the person who votes for someone just because they’re democratic or just because they are republican. I can tell you my Governor has been one that has really stood up and she’s still standing and coupled with the programs and the fundings that is coming out of her leadership is going to make education in Michigan better. During COVID, my goodness, she was a guardian angel; she did everything she could, despite politics, to protect us and to give us resources that we needed to survive. I can tell you I am absolutely supporting Gretchen Whitmer. Also Harris is on the ballot for Supreme Court and we celebrated, the first black supreme justice, Michigan is supporting the first Black woman to serve on our supreme court and all it takes is for you to go to the ballot and vote.. 

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