Jahana Hayes' story is one of perseverance, and her victory in the 5th District is one of hope. Honored in 2016 as "Teacher of the Year" by President Obama, Hayes announced her goal of becoming the first African American woman to represent Connecticut in Congress in July. On Tuesday, August, 14, she moved one step closer to making history. 

According to the Hartford Courant, the political rookie defeated Mary Glassman with a 62 percent to 38 percent margin. Not only did Glassman have the backing of the Connecticut Democratic Party, but she's also worked in politics for 30 years

“People told me I had no chance and I had no business trying to do this,’’ Hayes said Tuesday night. “Tonight we proved them wrong.”

In November, the 46-year-old will have to fight her way to victory against Republican primary winner and former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos. The endeavor may prove to be a challenge as she entered the race “102 days ago, with no money and no network.” 

The 5th District encompasses 41 communities in Western Connecticut, including the cities of Waterbury, Meriden and Danbury, according to the Courant.

Despite being a newcomer, Hayes' work as a teacher gained her support from unions and the Working Families Party. 

“Jahana’s win also demonstrates the value in electing and mobilizing teachers who will fight for public education, stand up to Betsy DeVos and advocate the importance of collective bargaining,’’ Lindsay Farrell, state director of the Working Families Party, said. “Through Jahana’s campaign, we have seen an outpouring of support from parents, students and fellow teachers inspired by Jahana’s story.”

Growing up in public housing, Hayes was the daughter of a drug addict. At the age of 17, she became a mother. Despite the odds stacked against her, she enrolled in community college and eventually became a history teacher.

“I know what it’s like to go to bed to gunshots outside; I know what it’s like to wake up in the morning to a dead body in the hallway,’’ she told the audience at the Washington forum, according to the Los Angeles Times. “No job gives you that kind of experience. Life gives you that kind of experience."

Hayes' victory serves as proof that people are ready for change and that she is prepared for the battle she may have to fight to change our narrative.

“I’m a fighter,” Hayes said. “Time and time again, I have had doors shut in my face and have had to walk around and knock on the back door.’’

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