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Pelosi Remarks at Event Honoring the 50 Year Legacy of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm

Washington, D.C.  – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Members of the Congressional Black Caucus to honor the 50 year legacy of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:


Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you, Barbara Lee.  And let me just say what Shirley Chisholm would think of this little girl now.




Here is Barbara Lee.  She is a Cardinal — that means she was a Chair of a very important subcommittee of Appropriations – State and Foreign Operations.  All of our – a spurring of our values and our strength, which are our values throughout the world.  


In the last ten days, that little girl — as Shirley Chisholm would have referenced – for the last ten days, she has been in San Francisco for the quarter for Maya Angelou, and we had Maya Angelou’s daughter-in-law speak at it.  I didn’t even think I would speak at it.  It would not have happened without Barbara Lee: women on the currency.




And that little girl, fourteen days later, spoke at the United Nations General Assembly, as representative of the Congress of the United States.  That’s an applause line.




And now that little girl is singing the praises of and calling everyone’s attention to the 50th anniversary of Shirley Chisholm running for president.


Now if you go down the hall in the Capitol, you can see Shirley Chisholm’s portrait.  Shirley Chisholm will see you too as she follows you with her eyes. 




So just go see it.  We’re very proud of it.  We’re very proud of it.


But again – Barbara Lee.  Now Barbara, in 1972, my – the first time I was involved in the California Democratic Party and my Chief of Staff – she was a big deal to the Congresswoman – had a Shirley Chisholm big sign in front of her house until about eight years ago.  She kept that sign; everybody would know forever that that’s where she was in the party and in our beliefs and in our respect for Shirley Chisholm.  And I said to her, ‘It’s getting a little faded.’  And she said, ‘I don’t care.  I want everybody to keep on seeing it.’


But in any event, she – Shirley Chisholm was a leader, would fight precedent.  When she came to the Congress – let me just make sure I have it right – there were ten women in the House and ten Black Members.  Imagine.  Imagine.  The shame of it.  Our representative – that she sought the presidency and broke down another, another centuries-old barrier.


She said she did not want to be remembered as a woman ‘who dared to be a’ – she wanted to be remembered as a woman ‘who dared to be a catalyst of change.’


Indeed, she was the vanguard of a new – a new era.  I think she would support a woman’s right to choose, LGBTQ – an officer of the House Democratic Caucus.  And so when we see women in cities – city council, city halls, state houses and all, we have to say thank you to Shirley Chisholm for breaking — and I don’t call it the glass ceiling.  This is a marble ceiling.  Again, as we gather at the Library, we see the first woman Librarian.




We see Joyce Beatty, leading — Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus –




You should have seen her at the Munich – at the Issues – at the Security Conference.  Heads of state, heads of EU, heads of – mayors, heads of this, heads of that.  They all wanted to see Barbara Lee – [inaudible]  And not only that, it is clear that Shirley Chisholm would be very, very proud.


And here we are gathered here in this Library to honor Shirley Chisholm [inaudible] and at the same time, across the halls [inaudible] the Senate of the United States will be taking vote of the confirmation of the first African American woman to the Supreme Court.




[Inaudible] officially – and it is an honor to be here with all of you.  Now it is my pleasure to yield back to the little girl from California, Barbara Lee.




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