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It's been said that every photograph is a self-portrait; when we look at others we can't help but see facets of ourselves reflected back.

I was reminded of this as I watched "Hope in the Struggle," a breathtaking new TPT documentary — part of its "Minnesota Trailblazers" collection — about Josie Johnson, the fearless activist, organizer, pathfinder and warrior.

In this Black woman, I saw myself. I am one of Josie's jewels, empowered by her living example.

While it's difficult to sound humble when I draw parallels between the mother of Minnesota's civil rights movement and me, they are undeniable.

Like Johnson, I was born in Texas and raised in Houston. She arrived in Minnesota because of her husband's job, and I did the same, some 40 years later. While raising her young family in a new place, Johnson quickly wove herself into the civic life of the community, as I have done.

As outsiders, we became insiders in the fight for a more fair and equitable Minnesota.

Sitting for an interview in the new documentary and looking regal in a purple suit, the now 93-year-old Johnson remains elegant, poised and soft-spoken, words never used to describe me. Most folks say I'm loud, bold, even brash.

But in studying her influence and impact, I see a blueprint for the work I am called to do.

Johnson's accomplishments are many; far more than I can do justice to here. From risking her personal safety to travel to Mississippi during Freedom Summer to help Black citizens register to vote to becoming the first Black regent at the University of Minnesota to stand for greater equity in higher education, she stepped into the breach time after time. The common threads in her work is fearlessness combined with willingness to seek and partner with allies of all backgrounds to achieve common goals.

One of her early victories was her effective stand to push back against the persistent patterns of housing segregation and racial covenants that were then embedded in the Twin Cities. Her behind-the-scenes, bipartisan lobbying work at the State Capitol is credited with the passage of Minnesota's first-in-the-nation fair housing bill in 1961.

Because she did her work then, I can do my work now. I recently conceived of and executed Black Entrepreneurs Day at the Capitol which brought hundreds of African American small-business owners and allies to St. Paul to lobby for our seat at the table as state dollars are allocated.

We are taking the handoff from Josie and her generation of fighters. Because of them, we are lifted up by the hope that is still in the struggle.

As Black History Month draws to a close, resolve to take the time to study Josie Johnson's life and the lessons it models.

If you are in a book club, plan to read "Hope in the Struggle," Johnson's 2019 memoir. If you are a leader of a nonprofit, foundation or organization that acknowledges inspiring leadership or if you are in a club that hands out trophies to people who make a difference, scratch out any names on your list and replace it with Josie Johnson's.

Let's give Johnson her flowers and celebrate her today. Let's honor her with respectful gratitude for what she has done for the state of Minnesota, to make it a more just home for all of us.

I challenge you to look and find yourself in the dazzling portrait of Johnson now playing on TPT and available to watch on its website.

Join me in the privilege of becoming one of Josie's jewels and you, too, will be part of her living legacy.

Sheletta Brundidge is a community activist and an award-winning broadcaster, podcaster, author and founder of ShelettaMakesMeLaugh.com, a production and promotions company that celebrates Black culture.