Sears, a Jamaican immigrant who came to the U.S. when she was 6 years old, hopes that children today can find inspiration from her own experiences.
“I think I am a visible success story that says to people, ‘You can do it. You will do it. No matter your gender, no matter your color, even no matter where you were born.’ Because here I am, this is not my country, not my culture. I came from Jamaica and here, I have made it,” Sears said in an interview with Fox News, noting that she is now the number two official in what was once the capital of the Confederacy.
The Republican contrasted her approach to those of other politicians who emphasize problems when it comes to race in America.
“Are you going to look at the glass as half full or as half empty? Because if it’s half empty that’s a negative view of life,” Sears said. “That’s where too many of our political leaders come from and all it does is serve their, I think, nefarious agenda to divide us and to say you’re a victim, you’re always going to be a victim, and the other people are the oppressors and so you need us.”
Sears even seemed to take issue with being asked about being the first Black woman to be Virginia lieutenant governor, noting how mentioning her race ignores the larger picture of being the first woman of any race to hold the job.
“And I think that’s part of the problem. We, for lack of a better word, segregate ourselves in divisive ways,” she said. “That’s not conducive to healthy relationships.”
Following the same philosophy of not wanting to divide, new Gov. Glenn Youngkin issued an executive order on his first day in office banning the teaching of “divisive concepts” like critical race theory in public education.
That is not to say that Sears believes race should be ignored or not taught.
“You have to teach about the racial issues,” Sears said, warning that not learning history dooms people to repeat its mistakes
“We need to know where we were wrong so that we can move forward and right things. The way to right things is to have that opportunity to have a good education. It is to give parents choice. We’re going to teach everything, we’re not going to sugarcoat anything, because the one thing we’ve learned from history, as someone once said, is that we don’t learn from history.”
Sears pointed to Nelson Mandela as an example of how to deal with adversity without being weighed down by it.
“He wasn’t looking for retribution. He wanted to say let’s talk about what happened and let’s move on because we must,” she said. “We can’t keep dividing ourselves. Those are the kinds of leaders we’re looking for.”