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The fifth of November marked the historic 50th anniversary of the election of the first African American woman to the U.S. Congress, Rep. Shirley Chisholm. This important milestone marks a watershed moment in American politics for Black women to emerge and take their rightful seats at the table of elected Democratic leadership. As the representative from the state of New York, Rep. Chisholm was a trailblazer, inspiring generations of women elected officials. Her career and those of many Black women in Congress are intrinsically connected. One of those women is California Congresswoman Barbara Lee.
Asked what she wanted her legacy to be, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm once said, “I’d like them to say that Shirley Chisholm had guts. That’s how I’d like to be remembered.” Like Shirley, I believe that to restore confidence and trust in our institutions and leaders, we need to speak truth. And that means electing more leaders who aren’t afraid to speak up and speak out. And every one of us privileged to serve has to mentor and lift up others.
Final passage of the $956 billion farm bill received bipartisan support in the Senate on Feb. 4, and soon after President Barack Obama signed the bill into law. Passage of the bill includes massive cuts to the food stamp program – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP – that will affect around 47 million people living in poverty all across the nation.
Give us your tired, your poor, your hungry, huddled masses ... and we’ll make sure they stay that way. That’s the message that members of Congress – Republicans and Democrats alike – are sending with their proposals to cut funding and add new restrictions for the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP – better known as the food stamp program.