(PART 14) UNDER THE BLACKLIGHT:
POLITICS, POWER, & THE STRUGGLE AGAINST
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley is an advocate, a policy-maker, an activist, and a survivor. On November 6, 2018, Congresswoman Pressley was elected to represent Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, making her the first woman of color to be elected to Congress from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
In 2009, she launched a historic at-large campaign for Boston City Council and won, becoming the first woman of color elected to the Council in its 100-year history. On the Council, Congresswoman Pressley worked in partnership with residents, advocates, and other elected officials to combat the inequities and disparities facing the community.
In 2016, Congresswoman Pressley was named one of The New York Times 14 Young Democrats to Watch. In 2014, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce named her as one of their Ten Outstanding Young Leaders, and the Victim Rights Law Center presented her with their Leadership Award. In 2015, she earned the EMILY’s List Rising Star Award and was named one of Boston Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful People. She is also an Aspen-Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership, Class of 2012.
Kimberly M. Foxx is the first African American woman to lead the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office – the second largest prosecutor’s office in the country. Kim took office on December 1, 2016 with a vision for transforming the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office into a fairer, more forward-thinking agency focused on rebuilding the public trust, promoting transparency, and being proactive in making all communities safe. As Cook County State’s Attorney, Kim has undertaken substantial criminal justice reforms focused on public safety and equity. Additionally, Kim is the first and only prosecutor in the country to make felony case-level data available to the public. The open data portal provides unprecedented access and transparency into the work of a prosecutor’s office. Her goal is to make Cook County the most transparent prosecutor’s office in the country.Kim served as an Assistant State’s Attorney for 12 years, and was also a guardian ad litem, where she worked as an attorney advocating for children navigating the child welfare system. Prior to being elected State’s Attorney, Kim served as Chief of Staff for the Cook County Board President, where she was the lead architect of the county’s criminal justice reform agenda to address racial disparities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee was elected in 1998 to serve California’s 9th congressional district (now the 13th) in a special election. In 2001, Congresswoman Lee received national attention as the only Member of Congress to oppose the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) in the wake of the horrific events on September 11th. The Congresswoman believed this AUMF would become a blank check for endless war. As of 2013, this authorization had been used more than 30 times to engage in military action without Congressional oversight. Congresswoman Lee is working to repeal this blank check and restore Congress’s constitutional oversight to matters of war and peace. She was also an outspoken opponent of the Iraq War.
Currently, Congresswoman Lee serves on the Budget Committee and the powerful Appropriations Committee, which oversees all federal government spending. She serves on three subcommittees (Vice Chair, State and Foreign Operations; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education; and Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration) of the Appropriations Committee.
Congresswoman Lee is the only African American woman in Democratic Leadership, serving as Co-Chair of the Policy and Steering Committee. As Co-Chair, Rep. Lee works to ensure that committees reflect the diversity, dynamism, and integrity of the Democratic Caucus. She also works to advance the policies that comprise the Democratic “For the People” agenda. In addition, she currently serves as the Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity, Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, and Co-Chair of the Cannabis Caucus. She is the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (111th Congress) and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (109th & 110th Congresses).