Shirley Chisholm is the first.
The first African American congresswoman, the first African American to run for president, and first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
Because of her, black congressmen and women have a voice today. Founder of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, she paved the way for other black female politicians and political analysts like (my favorite) Angela Rye, former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Four decades ago, Chisholm set the table for Solange when she said, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”
She desired to break gender boundaries because she understood that her womanhood was more of a threat than her blackness; and that determination was what drove Chisholm to run for president in 1972, seeking the Democratic nomination three years after she became a congresswoman.
This year, Ky Ekinci, a social entrepreneur from Florida’s Palm Coast organized the first Shirley Chisholm Day. He wanted as many young people as possible to know about her legacy. Chisholm spent her latter years in the Palm Coast area. Because many are unaware of Chisholm’s contributions to American politics, Ekinci coined the hashtag, #IKnowNow, tweeting facts about her life.
Chisholm’s efforts have continuously proven to be barrier breaking. Last week, Mary-Pat Hector, an African-American young woman, and sophomore at Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga., fought to run for a seat on the City Council. Although her potential opponent questioned her competence due to young age, Hector, who serves as national youth director for the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, protested. She declared that if she’s old enough to vote, she’s old enough to hold political office.
Now, Hector is the youngest person to ever run for City Council in the United States, and the first election will take place March 21. #blackgirlmagic