WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Barbara Lee (CA-13), Maxine Waters (CA-43), Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), and Yvette Clarke (NY-09) introduced HR 8535, legislation to award the Honorable Shirley Chisholm with the Congressional Gold Medal.
Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman to the United States Congress. In 1968, the Congresswoman took her seat as the Representative for New York’s 12th Congressional District—a post that she would hold for seven terms. During her tenure in Congress, Chisholm focused on tackling issues of food insecurity and economic justice. She was a fearless advocate for American families and also served as a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Chisholm’s presidential candidacy as the first African American and first woman to run for President.
“Shirley Chisholm has cemented her place in history as a trailblazer. As a champion of the poor and marginalized, a tireless worker for American families, and a role model to me and other women in politics, Congresswoman Chisholm has served courageously in the face of adversity and systematic racism,” said Rep. Lee. “In the 50 years since her presidential candidacy, we elected our first African American female Vice President and confirmed the first Asian American and African American female Supreme Court Justices, among many other firsts. Shirley Chisholm’s legacy shows that women need to be represented in every level of government. The Congressional Gold Medal serves as the expression of our nation’s deepest gratitude and respect in recognition of bravery, achievement, and outstanding service. It is without a doubt that Chisholm is deserving of Congress’ highest honor.“
“Shirley Chisholm’s more than fifty-year legacy continues to inspire and pave the way for generations of Black women leaders, including myself and so many other women of color that sit here in Congress today,” said Rep. Waters. “Chisholm was a trailblazer, a proud Barbadian-American from Brooklyn and the first woman of color to seek the presidential nomination from a major political party. In April I led a congressional delegation to Barbados where Members of Congress met with Caribbean leaders to discuss issues of financial access and inclusion. Shirley Chisholm’s trailblazing legacy was raised by Caribbean leaders and she is remembered as a national hero. That is because Chisholm spoke truth to power, no matter how unpopular it was, and refused to sit idly by as our communities suffered and were relegated to second-class citizenship. Her bold, progressive vision helped low-income families, hungry school children and struggling families get the support they needed, and her voice has helped to shape the politics of today. I carry the spirit and tenacity of Chisholm, whose shoulders we all stand on, and I am so incredibly pleased to join my colleagues, Representative Lee, Jeffries, and Clarke on this bill honoring Shirley Chisholm with the Congressional Gold Medal.“
“Shirley Chisholm was a groundbreaking icon who paved the way for future generations to run for office,” said Rep. Jeffries. “Growing up in Crown Heights, she was my representative in the House. It’s a privilege to now serve many of the same central Brooklyn communities she once represented in Congress. As we mark the 50-year anniversary of her historic presidential run, I am honored to join Reps. Lee, Waters and Clarke in introducing a bill to award her with the highest Congressional honor.”
“Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm was a woman who dared to be a catalyst for change. At a time when oppression and racism were not just systemic, but celebrated, she persisted past every obstacle in her way to shatter ceilings and unlock opportunities for the women and girls who followed her,” said Rep. Clarke. “Her achievements did not happen by accident. They took passion, perseverance and dedication to the betterment of her community, her country, and the lives of all who called both home. For her remarkable, trailblazing life, ‘Fighting Shirley’ deserves the highest honor of Congress.”
Endorsing organizations: Delta Sigma Theta, Shirley Chisholm Institute, National Urban League, National Education Association.
Original co-sponsors (114): Wilson, Maloney, DeLauro, Holmes Norton, Barragan, Quigley, Dean, Peters, Jackson Lee, Deutch, Sanchez, Adams, Kelly, Gonzalez, Blumenauer, Bonamici, Garcia, Gallego, Titus, Higgins, Garamendi, Wild, McGovern, Cicilline, Moore, Pressley, Ruiz, Underwood, Cleaver, McCollum, Plaskett, Payne, Trone, Takano, Kaptur, Ocasio-Cortez, Schakowsky, Evans, Davis, Carter, Casten, Suozzi, Tlaib, Johnson, Espaillat, McNerney, Lawson, Bass, Lynch, Schiff, Foster, Torres, Watson Coleman, Cardenas, Blunt Rochester, Rush, Carson, Pappas, DelBene, Johnson, Bishop, Welch, Shontel Brown, Omar, Cherfilus-McCormick, Sewell, Clark, Costa, Butterfield, Price, Raskin, Sablan, Jayapal, Defazio, Rice, Mfume, Thompson, Larsen, Horsford, Jones, Lowenthal, Beyer, Pingree, Matsui, Velazquez, Green, Bustos, Stansbury, Meeks, Ruppersberger, Bush, Raskin, Kildee, Hayes, Trahan, Susie Lee, Frankel, Sherman, Cooper, Tonko, Wexton, Kilmer, Bera, Jacobs, Speier, Dingell, Doggett, Bowman, Napolitano, Scott, Grijalva, Newman.