Election 2016: Women of Color Elected to Power
For those of us who believe in equality, progress and human decency, the 2016 Elections may not be the first place you’d point to for cultural advancement. But the truth is that history was made on November 8, 2016 and not for the reason you might think. Women of color made historic gains in the Senate, where the number of women of color quadrupled. That’s not the only good news — it turns out the House and local & state governments across the US will also be a little more diverse come the New Year.
Without further ado, let’s meet a few of the women of color who are fighting for equality and justice for ALL.
Kamala Harris, California Senator-Elect (D)
California Senator-Elect Kamala Harris is the first African-American senator from California, as well as the first Indian-American senator from the state. Prior to this election, Harris served as the state’s Attorney General.
Harris beat the competition across all ethnicities, major age groups and education levels. She outperformed her competition 63% to 37%.
- Oakland, CA
- Howard University
- University of California, Hastings
- State Attorney General, California
- District Attorney of San Francisco
Tammy Duckworth, Illinois Senator-Elect (D)
Tammy Duckworth, the Iraq War veteran who lost both legs in combat, defeated challenger Mark Kirk to reclaim Barack Obama’s former seat. This isn’t the first time that Duckworth has shattered a barrier. She was the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress in Illinois, the first disabled woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives and the first Thailand-born member of Congress. During the campaign, Duckworth’s opponent mocked her family’s heritage and questioned their service to the country. But, it looks like Tammy was the one who got the last laugh.
- Bangkok, Thailand
- University of Hawaii
- George Washington University
- Northern Illinois University
- US House of Representatives, Illinois 8th District
- Assistant Secretary of Veteran Affairs
- United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel
Ilhan Omar, Minnesota State Representative-Elect (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party)
Ilhan Omar, a former Somalian refugee, was elected to be a state representative from Minneapolis’ District 60B. Omar is the first Somali-American Muslim lawmaker in United States history. She believes strongly in community organizing and actually took home the 2015 Community Leadership Award at the African Awards. Her official political party is registered as “Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.”
- Mogadishu, Somalia
- North Dakota State University
- Community Nutrition Educator
- Child Nutrition Outreach Coordinator, MN Dept. of Education
Pramila Jayapal, Congresswoman-Elect (D)
Pramila Jayapal will be the first Indian-American woman to serve in the US House of Representatives. Originally from Chennai, India, Jayapal came to the United States at just 16-years-old to attend college. In 2000, Jayapal officially became a US citizen. Since then, she has been doing her best to make the world a better, more inclusive place.
- Chennai, India
- Georgetown University
- Northwestern University
- Washington Senate
- Founder, Hate Free Zone