November 05, 2018

Congresswoman Lee’s Statement on the 50th Anniversary of Shirley Chisholm’s Historic Election to Congress

Oakland, C.A. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee released the following statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s first election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Congresswoman Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to Congress, and the first woman and first African American to seek the Democratic nomination for President:

“I was incredibly lucky to meet my mentor and lifelong friend, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, when I was a college student. Working on her presidential campaign, Congresswoman Chisholm showed me the power of ‘unbought and unbossed’ women of color to change our country.

“It’s fitting that on the 50th anniversary of Shirley Chisholm’s groundbreaking first election to Congress, we are on the brink of electing an unprecedented number of women, people of color, and African American women to office. These milestones would not be possible without Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, who paved a path for us to follow in her footsteps.

“Congresswoman Chisholm is often remembered for being the first. But she should also be remembered for what she accomplished during her tenure in Congress. She used her office to fight for low-income families, hungry school kids, single moms and immigrants. She was instrumental in creating the national school lunch program, expanding the food stamp program, and establishing the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly known as WIC. She made this country a better place.

“But Congresswoman Chisholm’s work is not finished. Many in our nation still face injustice and discrimination. And it’s up to each one of us to keep working so that every American can live with freedom and dignity. When the polls open tomorrow morning, it’s my hope that voters across the country will carry Congresswoman Chisholm’s spirit with them to the ballot box.”

To learn more about Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s life and legacy, read this op-ed by Congresswoman Lee that ran in Essence Magazine today. Congresswoman Lee is also introducing a House Resolution with Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-9) this week to honor Congresswoman Chisholm.