Sen. Kamala Harris Pays Homage to Shirley Chisholm

Kamala Harris’ announcement on “Good Morning America” on Martin Luther King Jr. Day was a stark reminder of what happened 47 years ago this week in a race for the presidency.

Harris is standing on the shoulders of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to run for president, and
10 other Black women.


Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-N.Y.), said of her Democratic ticket in 1972: “I am not the candidate of black America, although I am black and proud.”

“I am not the candidate of the women’s movement of this country, although I am a woman, and I’m equally proud of that. I am not the candidate or any political bosses or fat cats or special interests. . . . I am the candidate of the people of America.”

Harris’ campaign spokesperson, Kirsten Allen, told the Guardian they purposely chose to honor Chisholm’s legacy.

“Shirley Chisholm’s activism, advocacy and willingness to persistently remind the nation of the work to be done on behalf of it’s people is an enduring legacy that lives on in the Senator and to honor that legacy in her own campaign for President was a no-brainer,” she said.

She also chose to honor her with the campaigns color scheme of red and yellow:

In a tweet, the Black White House correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor, often a target of Trump’s, also weighed in:

Chisholm was also known for her quote, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

And in the era of #MeToo, where Harris spoke in support of Christine Blasey Ford and accused then Judge Brett Kavanaugh of having a crystal clear memory when it was convenient for him, and where she promises to give a voice to the voiceless in her campaign, it seems as though she’s giving a nod to making room for herself at the table.

“Like Shirley, I believe that to restore confidence and trust in our institutions and leaders, we need to speak truth,” Harris wrote of Chisholm in a February 2018
essay in Essence.

“We need to acknowledge that racism is real in this country. Anti-Semitism is real in this country. Sexism, sexual assault, and workplace harassment are real in this country. We need to speak the truth that America was founded by immigrants, and we should not be vilifying people who come here in search of greater opportunity for themselves and their children.”
.

Both Harris and Chisholm are daughters of immigrants.

Chisholm was elected to the New York State Assembly, becoming only the second African American woman elected to the state legislature. She was also the first Black woman elected to Congress.

“That I am a national figure because I was the first person in 192 years to be at once a congressman, Black and a woman proves, I think, that our society is not yet either just or free,” she
would later state.

In 2016, Harris became the second Black woman and first south Asian woman elected to the Senate.

Harris, who unveiled a campaign slogan “Kamala Harris For The People,” is setting up
campaign headquarters in Baltimore, with another office in Oakland.

Latest News

5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: May 19

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience. 1. Emergency Services Dispatcher…

5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: May 12

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience. 1. Coverage From DiversityInc’s…

Questlove plays a DJ set at DiversityInc's 2022 Top 50 event.

Photo Gallery: 2022 Top 50 Event

Accenture earns No. 1 spot on the Top 50 List, Hilton joins Hall of Fame. Expert panels and presentations cover the event’s theme of “ESG: Climate and Culture at Risk”. State Street execs share how they ranked for the first time. Cutting edge research from the Wharton School is presented…

Dr. Sally Saba

DiversityInc 2022 Top 50 Event: A New Landscape = New Opportunity: Shaping Corporate Standards of Excellence for ID&E Management

The role of an inclusion, diversity and equity practitioner has completely evolved, and all eyes are on the corporate community as it navigates its approach. Dr. Sally Saba, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Medtronic, spoke about working together to shape the next generation’s standards during her Top50Talk “A New…