On January 25, 1972, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm announced her candidacy for President of the United States of America from a Baptist church in her Brooklyn, New York district. Congresswoman Chisholm became the first African American woman to run for President. Although the list of women candidates is not very long when compared to the hundreds of men who have run for President, Shirley Chisholm was actually a contender and comes in second to Hillary Clinton in the number of votes she won overall across the nation. The audacity of her candidacy was incredible coming almost a decade after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Chisholm’s unprecedented run drew upon a multi-racial coalition of support at a time in American history where race relations continued to be fraught with violence; voter suppression and voter intimidation expressed openly and with the sanction of elected government officials. The first woman ever to run for president was Victoria Woodhull in 1872, a hundred years before Chisholm’s historic run. Woodhull ran under the banner of the Equal Rights Party and her running mate was Frederick Douglass. The audaciousness of an integrated ticket only a decade after the Emancipation Proclamation and before the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote in 1920 truly challenged America as to the veracity of its creed and the content of its character as a nation.
Fast forward to 2019 when the very first candidates to announce their candidacy for president of the United States have been some very powerful, passionate and competent women, all who are currently serving as U.S. Senators. The groundwork laid and the seeds of historic precedent planted so many decades ago, not discounting the historic run of Hillary Clinton just two years ago as the first female nominee of a major party, has nonetheless brought us to this inflection point in our nation’s history. We have arrived at a place where not only are we on the precipice of a tectonic shift in what leadership is and what leadership looks like in America, but we have arrived at a place where the “possibility” has actually become a reality. This hopeful recognition bubbling up all over the place is clear evidence that we can now see ourselves not just voting for a woman to become president, but also actually inaugurating a woman, as our Commander in Chief. That reality is closer today than it has ever been before.
We the People, come from a wide range of beliefs, colors, ethnicities, identities, origins and so on. The complexion and gender makeup of our governing bodies and leadership must begin to reflect that diversity without apology or excuse. We the People are tired of monolithic representation. Women are in the majority of the population and that fact must now begin to be reflected in all three branches of the U.S. government. Time is up for ignoring the abilities, qualifications and clear hutzpah of women to lead this nation. We are more than ready and we are not prepared to wait any longer. If SHE is the best candidate, then She should be elected to the highest office in the land. With the brilliant women running in the 2020 campaign for President of the United States, it is more than a possibility.
It is TIME.