Women throughout the Democratic-led House of Representatives have been making a name for themselves in history. The Rolling Stone magazine celebrated the diversity of these women with a cover that says it all.
Jahana Hayes, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, and Ilhan Omar graced the cover of the current magazine. Each comes to the House with a different ethnicity, a different religion, and a different story.
Representative Jahana Hayes (D-CT) was the first black woman to ever represent her state of Connecticut. The 2016 National Teacher of the Year grew up in public housing and “never expected to win:”
‘I never expected to win. I thought it would be a damn good try, and people would get encouraged, and then the next time someone else would do it.’
The single, teen mother had to work three jobs to put herself through school. When Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) approached her, she said no way:
‘Absolutely not. I don’t know how to raise the money. I don’t even know what running would look like.’
Hayes was a star in the low-income school where she taught. Her students lived in public housing and even homeless shelters, so she volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, founded by President Jimmy Carter (D-AL):.
‘I’m thinking, I have these kids with no money, who receive free or reduced lunch, live in public housing, and they are here to help someone else. And we have adults who are saying, “It’s not my problem to help you. I don’t want my tax money to go to help you.” I said, “I’m going to run.”‘
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. She brought her outspoken and very intelligent ideas to the House floor and elsewhere. The New York representative was a restaurant server prior to her new job, and lived on her tips. That makes her perhaps the person in the House with the most experience she can use to relate to working people.
Ocasio-Cortez now sits on the House Oversight and Government Reform committee. She displayed her skill during the president’s former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen’s testimony. Not only was she exceptionally well-prepared, she sussed out information about Donald Trump’s income taxes and asked Cohen where the committee could find them.
Speaker of the House and second in line to the U.S. presidency Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has given the new members a surprisingly free rein, and only occasionally pulled them back. That and her record as the first and second female House speaker make her a remarkable leader.
She is the most powerful woman in the country. Recently, Vice President Mike Pence was coming back from an overseas meeting and Trump was on his way to his summit meeting with North Korea President Kim Jong Un. During a brief time, she was the highest leader in the country.
Pelosi grew up in a political family in Baltimore, Maryland as the youngest of seven children and the only girl. Her father was already a congressman, and when she was seven years old Pelosi held the Bible to swear in her father as Mayor of Baltimore. Her mother was also politically active as an organizer, and her brother become the mayor of Baltimore, too.
Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has already publicly called out House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-CA). He criticized her and Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) for their comments about Israel being “all about the Benjamins baby.” Omar apologized for that tweet. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also condemned their anti-Semitic tweet.
When Omar, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1995 fleeing the Somali civil war, was in high school, she rarely wore her hijab (religious hair cover). Yet, this year she was the first woman in Congress to ever wear one and only after the Congress changed a 181-year-old rule that did not allow any head covering:
‘I, regretfully, was one of the folks who would only wear it the days I didn’t have the time or energy to fix my hair. I knew we had a responsibility to help shape a narrative about our faith that is positive. The last two years of dealing with this administration has been the biggest adjustment of my life. I just want to hide. But I can’t because I represent people who feel as much pain — if not more — because they don’t have the voice that I have.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.