Race & Identity
#Stopaskingpermission: Hillary didn't run on my behalf, Shirley did
On Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton once again saw a victory during the last primary in Washington D.C. In a battle that has been the longest primary fight in American history, Hillary Clinton was able to clinch more delegates than her challenger, Bernie Sanders, making her the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Her journey to the convention has been hailed by many as history making and a major win for women everywhere. Despite reporting on her journey and praising her victories, I can't help but disagree with those who see this as a win for women everywhere
Why you ask? Because Hillary Clinton did not run on my behalf, Shirley Chisholm did
In this week's edition of #stopaskingpermission, there is a long overdue celebration for a black woman who rightfully deserves more praise and acknowledgment for what she did for me over Hillary
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Shirley Chisholm was a force to be reckoned with. As Brooklyn native, Chisholm started her political career volunteering with political clubs like the League of Women Voters. From there she became a democratic member of the New York State Assembly where she served in office from 1965-1968. During her time in the state legislature, Chisholm claimed several victories like extending unemployment benefits to domestic workers and providing programs for disadvantaged students who were entering college. In 1968, she was elected Democratic National Committeewoman from New York State
Her career and lasting legacy in politics doesn't stop there, though. Let's continue with the receipts
Shirley Chisholm is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Women's Caucus, becoming the first black woman elected to Congress, representing a newly carved out congressional district in Brooklyn. With her outspoken personality, she refused to sit quietly and allow business to operate as usual. In her very first floor speech, she lashed out against the Vietnam War
"I have no intention of just sitting quietly and observing," she said. "I intend to focus attention on the nation's problems." Chisholm was the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination and the first major-party black candidate for President of the United States
*clears throat* Let me say that again for the people in the back
Shirley Chisholm was the FIRST black woman to run for President and the FIRST woman to run for the Democratic nomination. Despite clinching the necessary amount of delegates, Clinton is not the first politician to take the first step in breaking political barriers for not just women but black women. Although Chisholm did not win the major party's nomination, she did leave a lasting impression on American politics, a milestone easily overlooked in American history
So when we talk about what Hillary Clinton has done for women, and the history she has made for women we have to consider who came before her. We have to consider that even though she clinched the necessary number of delegates on the anniversary of women being able to vote, that anniversary isn't an anniversary for all women. We have to consider that despite the 19th amendment, black women weren't able to become enfranchised in the voting process until after the civil rights movement, decades later. We have to consider that Clinton is not the first woman to almost call it like it is, Chisholm was calling it just as she saw it decades ago. Chisholm was not afraid to speak on our behalf. She wasn't afraid to call us out of the shadows and force us to spring forth into action
"You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas." -Shirley Chisholm'' This column isn't intended to bash Hillary Clinton or take away from the history that she has made, it's simply a reminder that her victory isn't necessarily a universal victory. It's to remind us that we have come from a long line of black women who unlike Clinton, were unafraid to answer questions that involved the murder of black people. We come from women who never asked for permission and won battles intentionally on our behalf