Ayanna Pressley is many things: an at-large Boston city councilor, a sexual assault survivor and the favorite to win the House seat in the 7th Congressional District. Should she win, she would make history as the first black woman to head to Congress representing the state.
Pressley has something in common with New York 14th Congressional District hopeful Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, as all three candidates of color beat the odds and won the primary in their respective local elections. As Bay State Banner mentions, Pressley beat incumbent Michael Capuano by engaging with non-traditional voters, who are often ignored by the Democratic Party.
“I hope that we’ve ushered in a new paradigm shift about how to run and win campaigns,” said Pressley. “We have challenged assumptions about who is a likely primary voter. We have challenged assumptions about who deserves to have a seat at the table of democracy, or who wants to. Every single constituency that pundits considered to be unlikely showed up and turned out in this race: millennials, immigrants, people of color.”
With a vote on Brett Kavanaugh expected Friday, many minds are on sexual assault. Pressley spoke of her sexual assault experience to WBUR in 2011 and has since spoken out in support of Christine Blasey Ford throughout the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.
Ahead of the vote, Pressley called for Kavanaugh to step aside if he has "an iota of decency,” BuzzFeed News reports. She also reiterated her support for Ford, who the House hopeful said has lived a “lifetime of trauma and shame.”
Pressley first spoke publicly about her assault at a Boston city council meeting and talked more about her advocacy for survivors in a new interview with BuzzFeed.
"The reason I tell my story is to create space and dignity for survivors to let them know that they are seen, that they are not alone, and that I am going to be vigilant in this moment for their healing and justice," she said. “That is truly the disgrace to our nation, that survivors are never given the justice they are deserved.”
One way to do this, Pressley said, is to put an end to divisive politics.
“Everyone keeps talking about the division and tribalism in our country,” the candidate said. “I hope we can appeal to a greater tribe and affirm the humanity and dignity of survivors, and get justice they deserve. I would like to think about the same tribalism in our country having the ability to affirm our collective humanity in these instances by honoring the voices and stories of survivors and lived experience.”
Now, check these out: