Kamala Harris & Shirley Chisholm

The Sisterhood of the Folding Chair

sarah warden
Jul 1, 2019 · 3 min read

here is nothing more American than being a fighter.

Born out of a revolution against tyranny, some of the first of us fought for the freedom to practice our religion, while others fought for the inalienable human right to better ourselves and our future.

Whatever class or caste we were born into, no American has ever believed that our birth is the determining factor in our future.

No one believes that birth is destiny except for those ignorant sons (and daughter, Ivanka) of privilege who feel entitled to an inherited seat at the table. To the rest of us, the very idea of birthright is UNAMERICAN.

And yet, here we are again.

A black person is daring to run for the presidency of the United States and questions are being raised by the ‘we’re-so-rich-we-only-live-in-gold-rooms’ Trump family.

Girl (looking at you, Donny Jr.), please. The Trump family does not get to define what American means and they sure-as-shit do not get to define what it means to be a black American.

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”~Shirley Chisholm

daughter of Caribbean immigrants became the first black congresswoman and went on to become the first woman of any race to run for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency.

Her name was Shirley Chisholm.

As the first woman to participate in a U.S. Presidential Debate, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. There is no question that she was definitely and defiantly a black American.

“Unbought and unbossed.”

Shirley Chisholm announcing her run for Congress in 1968. Public Domain.

Shirley Chisholm was the daughter of parents from the Carribean, so why did no one say that since she was not descended from enslaved Americans she was, consequently, not a black American? First, because it’s absurd and second and most importantly because Shirley Chisholm was never in a position to win the presidency of the United States.

She was a trailblazer and she knew she was a trailblazer. Paving the way was a great source of pride for her.

“I ran for the presidency, despite hopeless odds, to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo… to give a voice to the people the major candidates were ignoring. What I hope most is that now there will be others who will feel themselves as capable of running for high political office as any wealthy, good-looking white male.” — Shirley Chisholm

amala Harris may very well become the nominee of the Democratic Party and obliterate Trump in the general election the same way that she defeated Biden in their first debate.

A black woman could be the 46th President of the United States — that is why Kamala Harris is under attack.

“There is little place in the political scheme of things for an independent, creative personality, for a fighter. Anyone who takes that role must pay a price.” — Shirley Chisholm

hen running for office, she would introduce herself as “fighting Shirley Chisholm.” When in office, she chided the congressional leadership for appointing her to the committee on agriculture. “Apparently all they know here in Washington about Brooklyn is that a tree grew there. Only nine black people have been elected to Congress, and those nine should be used as effectively as possible.”

amala Harris is on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee. She was the voice of outraged American women during the Kavanaugh hearings and she deconstructed Joe Biden in a way that has some of us salivating at the prospect of what she could do to the bumbling Donald Trump.

So it makes sense that in 2019, now that a black woman is where a black woman has always belonged, she is no longer a black woman?

Somewhere, Shirley Chisholm is laughing. And wondering what took so long. And applauding.

And holding her breath.

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sarah warden

Written by

poet. turns wounds into words. Poetry collection: Girls Like You Don’t Break — Poems of Survival https://www.amazon.com/girls-like-you-dont-break/dp/1658265211

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +724K followers.

sarah warden

Written by

poet. turns wounds into words. Poetry collection: Girls Like You Don’t Break — Poems of Survival https://www.amazon.com/girls-like-you-dont-break/dp/1658265211

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +724K followers.

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