How Sweet It Is 

When Winsome Earl-Sears decided to run for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, she had been out of politics for almost 20 years. Turning Virginia red was considered by many to be a prayer. But for Sears, that’s all she would ever need.

Winsome Sears’ memoir, “How Sweet It Is: Defending the American Dream,” details the extraordinary story of her life and how sacrifice, faith, and family played a pivotal role in her success. Defying the odds and suffering personal loss and political setbacks, Ms. Sears would eventually become the first black woman to hold statewide office in Virginia. Arriving in America at the age of 15 to live with a father who came with nothing but $1.75 in his pocket, Sears’ story is both an inspiration and a true embodiment of the American dream. More than just a regular politician, Sears shows how every conservative belief she holds dear is informed by true personal experience.

From joining the Marines to being the only black Republican in the Virginia House of Delegates, Sears’ book details a life defined by beating the odds.

After a grueling campaign for the 90th Virginia legislative district, she won this black majority district as a black Republican—a feat not accomplished in over a century. Despite well-founded doubts and a severe lack of funding, Sears prevailed.

During her first term, however, she quickly realized she wasn’t the “right kind of black.” Despite being black herself, she describes resistance from the Black Caucus, who excluded her from meetings even after reluctantly giving her membership. She faced contempt. Sears, like many black Republicans, learned that the left’s moral grandstanding on race is just a façade. She explains that the left wants to keep blacks in a box.  In the book, she mentions Joe Biden’s infamous Freudian slip, “If you don’t vote for me, then you ain’t black.”

Ms. Sears places a great deal of importance on education in her memoir. Intentionally unsubtle, she recalls how an educated slave is the bane of the master. Education is and has always been the “road out of poverty,” says Sears.

When Ms. Sears first went to school in America, she fell behind. What was the problem? Declining standards, a lack of options, and the celebration of mediocrity killed success. Her parents, wanting the best for her as any parent would, brought her back to school in Jamaica for a better education.

“We need education to triumph at life.” It’s how you get ahead; it’s how the American dream can be more than just a fantasy. And she says that’s what was so insulting to parents about the education their kids were getting during the COVID-era.

For the first time ever, parents had a real glimpse into their children’s education. Instead of hearing their kids provide casual feedback over dinner about their schools and assuming the best, parents overheard Zoom lessons on “white privilege.” And after a man’s daughter was assaulted in a public school girl’s bathroom by a boy wearing a dress, it was clearer than ever that Virginia’s public schooling system had failed parents.

Sears knew their struggles; she knew what education meant to them; and she knew what transparency meant to them. The other side didn’t care. “Parents shouldn’t tell schools what they should teach,” they said.

Sears’s memoir is continuously threaded together by strong depictions of her faith. Despite what she described as going through hell at times, she persevered and trusted in God (even when it was hard).

That last part is a key part of her story. Faith, after all, means very little when times are easy. In one of the most gripping moments of Ms. Sears’ memoir, she describes the night two sheriff’s deputies knocked on her door at 3 in the morning —her daughter DeJon had been killed in a car accident along with her two grandchildren, Victoria and Faith.

Tragedy like this is enough to send a mother into a state of psychosis, let alone destroy her faith in its entirety. But in that moment, she cites a verse from the biblical story of Job, a man who lost everything yet refused to curse the name of God: “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

In “How Sweet It Is,” Winsome Sears’ story serves as both a source of inspiration and a testament to her devotion to God and to an America that “must remain the shining city upon a hill.” Despite the challenges of life, politics, and personal tragedy, Winsome Sears’s memoir is a compelling tribute to the promises of the American dream.

Horace Cooper is a legal commentator and Chairman of the Project 21 Black Leadership Network

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About Horace Cooper

Horace Cooper is a senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research and is the author of How Trump is Making Black America Great Again.

Photo: CHANTILLY, VA - NOVEMBER 2: Virginia Lt Gov-Elect Winsome Sears greets supporters on November 2, 2021 in Chantilly, Virginia. Virginias political identity was up for grabs in the Nov. 2 election, with races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general as well as all 100 House of Delegates seats on the ballot. (Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)