Chair Brittaney Wells guest article in Upstate NY Gospel Magazine in celebration of Women’s History month, read full article below.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it best: “Women are leaders everywhere you look ― from the CEO who runs a Fortune 500 company to the housewife who raises her children and heads her household. Our country was built by strong women, and we will continue to break down walls and defy stereotypes.”
Last year, women across our city and our nation proved just that!
The surprising upset of Secretary Hillary Clinton losing the 2016 election to President Trump caused women everywhere to brawl on the front lines of the resistance. From shifting the power in the House of Representatives substantially with the historic class of the 116th Congress–where 127 women took the oath of office, to the election of New York State Attorney General Leticia “Tish” James, the first African-American to serve in the position for New York State, women are taking City Halls, legislative Chambers and the Halls of Congress by storm.
The result of the 2018 election, ultimately and satisfactorily diversified the representation of the nation. For instance, the freshman class of the 116th Congress includes the first Muslim women, first Native American women, the first black women elected from Connecticut and Massachusetts, the first Hispanic women voted in from Texas and the youngest woman to ever be elected to Congress.
California Congresswoman Maxine Waters has proven to ‘reclaim her time’ during her tenure when citing salacious acts. Rep. Waters single-handedly ignited a fire in women and young people everywhere by telling them to “get controversial” when standing up for the everyday working individuals as well as demanding respect while proclaiming she not receive different treatment than her male counterparts. New York Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman to serve in Congress, routinely makes headlines for challenging the status quo of the nation’s policies including lobbying loopholes and contributions from corporations. And, let’s not forget how after regaining the position of Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Congress refused to give into Mr.Trump’s demands for his border wall, ultimately pushing him to admit defeat and ending the government shutdown.
After a vicious primary and ultimate defeat of becoming Georgia’s first African-American Governor– for now — Stacey Abrams is an impactful presence and role model for women across the nation. By refusing to concede to her opponent until all ballots were counted, Abrams continued to shed light that everything is not-so “peachy” with the voting discrepancies experienced in Georgia. On Tuesday, February 19th, she testified before Congress regarding the matter.
Women in the Greater Rochester Area are also breaking barriers. Hon. Fatimat O. Reid displayed the ultimate “girl power” after winning November’s election and becoming the first African-American woman elected to Monroe County Family Court– while expecting her fourth child. NYS Assemblywoman Jamie Romeo joined the small percentage of women in the State Assembly. Fairport, NY “turned blue” when the Village elected its first Democratic Mayor, Julie Domaratz. And the Monroe County Democrats elected its first African American Chairwoman.
Let us not forget Rochester’s own Mayor Lovely Warren, the city’s first female Mayor. Midway through her second term, she is continuing to transform the area daily with contemporary infrastructure, the fight for quality education, job security, and incentives that primarily benefit the residents who need them most. Additionally, Mayor Warren was featured as 100 Woke Women in Essence Magazine in 2018, stating to be woke “means to take nothing for granted, that you are a part of the change you want to see. And staying woke means to wake up and realize that no one else is going to do this for you–you have to get out there and do the work. You have to want to climb that stairway. There’s no sitting on the sidelines for this.”
Monroe County Democratic-endorsed candidates Shani Curry-Mitchell and Karen Bailey Turner are spearheading the 2019 election season in their own right with their boastful statements of rejuvenations for the county’s judicial system. Curry-Mitchell, a Spelman College graduate, is running for Monroe County District Attorney. Bailey Turner is a Jamaican-English immigrant, running for County Court Judge making her the first African American woman to serve in the role if elected.
Two years have passed since women were placing their “I Voted Today” stickers on Susan B. Anthony’s grave-stone, in anticipation of the first Madame President. In the recent months, six women, including Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand, Sen Elizabeth Warren, and Sen. Kamala Harris have all placed their bid for the 2020 presidential election. All women candidates platforms undoubtingly refute the policies of the current administration.
Shirley Chisolm, the first African-American woman to run for President once said “America is composed of all kinds of people – part of the difficulty in our nation today is due to the fact that we are not utilizing the abilities and the talents of our brown and black people and females that have something to bring to the creativity and the rejuvenation and the revitalization of this country.”
Today’s women are mirroring these words, bursting through that glass ceiling once built to marginalize them. Now living in an age where women are demanding their voice be heard, accreditation for their abilities, while paying homage to those who have paved the way. Women across the U.S. are letting everyone know they are unbought and unbossed.