As a proud, Black, gay man and the father of three young, mixed-race children, I spend a lot of time thinking about what kind of world they’re growing up into.
I’m old enough to have perspective of a time when it was nearly impossible to imagine a Black President or the legalization of gay marriage. But I’m also young enough to have fortunately never experienced racial segregation by law or legal barriers to adopting my children with my husband of six years (together for 15 years), Paul.
That is to say I understand that progress can feel slow, but America is steadily moving toward a more perfect Union that accepts every person regardless of their color, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Following the election of Donald Trump, however, I grew concerned that the progress made on these fronts was in danger of being dialed back.
Like so many others, I decided I needed to do something.
I ran to be a local Democratic Committeeman and won. I joined and later became co-chair of my city’s Democratic LGBT+ group. And last year I helped organize Philadelphia’s Queer March for Black Lives in response to the murder of George Floyd, which ultimately drew thousands from across the city for a day of action and awareness.
These experiences taught me an important lesson: regardless of my age, regardless of my race and sexual identity, and regardless of the precious little free time I have available that’s not already devoted to family or work, I can make a difference.
That’s why earlier this month I decided to take a massive step forward by announcing that I am running for Judge of Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia. If you’re so inclined, you can learn more about my campaign and add your support by visiting https://www.gregforphilly.com.
So on top of being a dad, a husband and a full-time attorney, now I’m also a candidate for public office.
You might think I’m crazy -- and I promise you sometimes it can be a little overwhelming -- but I have kept my family as my guiding light on this journey into politics.
When I look into my kids’ faces, I am driven to do whatever I can to create the world I know they deserve -- a world where they are not treated any differently for the color of their skin or the make-up of their family. I wholeheartedly believe that by throwing my hat in the ring for this office, I just might have the opportunity to help do just that.
I don’t expect everyone reading this to drop everything and run for office, but I hope it might make you think about taking the next step in getting involved in your community to make a positive impact -- however you see fit to do so.
The worst-case scenario for my run for office is that I tried and lost. And if that’s the case, I know my beautiful, interracial family will look back at my efforts with pride. Knowing this, how could I possibly look back with regret?