50 years have passed since Shirley Chisholm took up the mantle of Congresswoman, becoming the first African American woman elected to the United States Congress. 50 years later, Ms. Chisholm would be pleased to see the growing diversity and inclusion of women from all backgrounds and demographics swearing in to represent we the people.

2019 is already off to a historic start with people like Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat and the first Somali-American woman to become sworn into Congress. The wave of historic moments also includes Native American women, Muslim women and young women, such as the under 30 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

These newly elected women also played a pivotal role in helping Democrats secure the majority and taking back control in the House of Representatives. Although in the new Congress there are fewer women representing the Republican Party, women are finally integrating into positions once held solely by men.

This year also marks the 48th anniversary of the Congressional Black Caucus. Founded by Shirley Chisholm and 12 others as a means to ensure the full resources of the federal government are available to all demographics of Americans (including blacks and other minority groups). The Congressional Black Caucus includes officials from both the United States Senate and Congress and celebrated a milestone of 55 members. This is the first time in its history that the number of members has surpassed 50.

With new faces comes exciting changes and an eagerness to return to representing the common person. Representing their constituents, these new politicians continue to walk in her footsteps of Congresswoman Chisholm. With the current state of politics, hopefully the following Chisholm quote echoes loud and clear throughout this historic Congress: “You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.”

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