Black history wouldn’t be complete without celebrating the Black politicians who’ve paved the way for us to have a seat at the table. One of our most beloved politicians, Maxine Waters, shares her story on how her political career has led her to make Black history, while speaking up on Black issues and winning our hearts as “Auntie Maxine.”
Before working in politics, Maxine Waters got involved in the feminist movement in the 1970s, engaging with activists who were fighting for women’s rights while listening to the voices of many women who were brave enough to be open about their experiences.
"I used what I had learned to respond legislatively," Waters said.
In 1976, she was elected to the California State Assembly, eventually moving up to the Democratic Caucus Chair. After Augustus F. Hawkins retired from the U.S. House of Representatives in the early 1990s, Waters was elected to take over this coveted position, and has continued to serve as a representative on behalf of Southern California ever since.
Although Waters has had a long and successful career, working in politics as a Black woman has not been easy.
"I have worked at a time where conservatives were basically in charge like it is now, but it's worse now than it's ever been,” Waters told Blavity.
She also alludes to how many of her colleagues tend to disapprove of her bold approach to politics. "I have been challenged because I'm outspoken, and a lot of people disagree with me. They think that maybe sometimes I'm too confrontational, or I talk about Black issues too much."
Despite the difficulties, Maxine Waters hasn’t allowed the haters to bring her down. Instead, Waters uses her perseverance and passion to make Black history. “I stayed. I did my time. I learned the issues. I put in a lot of reading and visiting financial institutions,” she said. “I’m at the point when we take back the House of Representatives, I will be the chair of the Financial Services Committee — the first Black in the history of this country, and certainly the first Black woman.”
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