Hillary Clinton made history on June 7, 2016 in becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee for President. Since the passage of the 19th amendment legally giving women the right to vote, we’ve seen the first woman run for democratic nomination as president of the U.S. No, it was not Hillary Clinton. It was Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm (D. NY) in 1972. It has taken another 44 years for a woman to accomplish the goal that Shirley Chisholm set out to accomplish. History often erases the accomplishments of women and particularly African American and other minority women. And that’s why I want Hillary Clinton to unequivocally and repeatedly acknowledge her debt owed to Shirley Chisholm.
Congresswoman Chisholm (D. NY) was the first woman to run for the democratic nomination as President of the US. She was also the first African American woman elected to Congress. In 1972, Chisholm became the first African American candidate for president. In doing so, she blazed the trail for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm ran on the platform of “unbought and unbossed.” And I don’t want the history of Shirley Chisholm to be swept under the rug with the presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton did what Shirley Chisholm could not accomplish. Clinton’s history making accomplishment was made on the back of Shirley Chisholm. And I want Hillary Clinton to acknowledge that she climbed the glass ceiling with Chisholm leading the way. Chisholm didn’t reach and break the glass ceiling because our country and the times were not ready for her.
Times have changed since Chisholm ran for president. The empowerment of women is as lawmakers and change-makers. This is where we change the fabric of our society. Yet, many women do not seek elective office. We need more organizations and PAC’s like Emily’s List to make it easier for women to seek and win elective office. Emily’s List helped to elect Senator Barbara Mikulski, the first democratic woman elected to the U.S. Senate. We need more Barbara Mikulski’s. California Attorney General Kamala Harris won the California primary on June 7 for the vacating seat of Senator Barbara Boxer. She now progresses to the general election in November. With more elected women legislators on the local, state and national levels, we serve to make the changes necessary to move this country forward to one of liberty and justice for all.
Recently, Senator Harry Reid and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi have hinted at a woman, particularly Senator Elizabeth Warren, serving as vice president on the Democratic ticket. While some have stated that two women would be too much change with presumably Hillary Clinton at the top, I prefer to think of it as the change we need. With the exceptions of Democratic vice president nominee Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 with running mate Walter Mondale and Republican vice president nominee Sarah Palin in 2008 with John McCain, no other women have been nominated as vice presidential candidate in either major party.
No woman has ever served as vice president—ditto for a woman serving as President. The time is now to make the changes to move this country forward. Let’s move the country forward with two women leading the way at the top. I urge presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to select Senator Elizabeth Warren (D. MA) as her running mate. There is no better way to unite the Democratic Party and to serve the country. The debt owed to Shirley Chisholm would be paid in full with two women leading the country as president and vice president.
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Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a lawyer and legal analyst /political commentator.