After Representatives Yvette Clarke and Hakeem Jeffries introduced a resolution last week acknowledging the 50th anniversary of former Brooklyn Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s election to Congress, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Wednesday that he will present a companion bill to the Senate, reports Kings County Politics.
Clarke and Jeffries introduced legislation on November 5, to posthumously award the Brooklyn trailblazer the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor; the bill also calls for the erection of a statue of her in the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Chisholm was the first African-American elected to Congress in 1968. Just four years later, she would also become the first woman and African American to run for president.
“We can’t forget from where we once came from,” said Congresswoman Clarke. “Shirley Chisholm, a proud Brooklynite, created a path for me and the 40 other Black women members of Congress who have served after her. And she paved the way for many more, including 400-plus black women who ran in 2018. The many generations who followed have reaped the benefits of her labor.”
Born in Brooklyn to West Indian immigrant parents, Chisholm was the second African American elected to the New York State Legislature in 1964. After court-ordered redistricting created a new, heavily Democratic, district including the neighborhoods of Crown Heights and Bedford Stuyvesant, Chisholm sought—and won—a seat in Congress four years later.
During her tenure from 1969 to her retirement in 1983, she introduced more than 50 pieces of legislation and championed racial and gender equality, the plight of the poor and ending the Vietnam War.
“With this resolution, we celebrate a fellow New Yorker and Brooklynite, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm,” said Senator Schumer. “She was a true American hero who worked tirelessly to give voice to the voiceless and advocate for her constituents.”