Shirley Chisholm in 1972 was the first black person to announce for President, and the first woman as well.
Shirley said, “I met more discrimination as a woman than for being black. Men are men.”
Shirley faced death threats and knew she might likely fail but ran anyhow to “change the face and future of American politics.”
In 2008, two separate candidates vied to “change the face” America presents to the world.
America fulfilled part of Shirley’s prophecy in 2008 with the election of then Senator Barack Obama.
This year we are trying to meet Shirley’s second hope – to inoculate the oval office against the sexual discrimination Shirley suffered.
I’ve worked for some great women over the years who pushed against the glass ceiling and some were certainly inspired by Shirley.
What sex discrimination has been and mostly remains today is that a woman must excel, be better than a man, to hope to be treated equally.
Over the years, I’ve worked with Bella Abzug, and Liz Holtzman and Mary Sue Terry and Emilie Miller and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Maxine Waters and Loretta Sanchez and Nancy Pelosi. I served as Special Counsel to Rep. Patsy Mink from Hawaii and Rep. Zoe Lofgren from California.
All these women were strong, striving to make a difference, to advance individual rights, with the stamina required of women to break through the slights they suffer, like when a woman makes a point among men and women, but is not heard until a man repeats the point she made.
It’s an encouraging shift toward equal rights this year that more men found they could hear what Hillary had to say.