February 28, 2018

Harris, Gillibrand and Booker Introduce Legislation to Commission Statue Honoring U.S. Representative Shirley Chisholm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and 11 senators introduced a bill directing Congress to commission a statue of former U.S. Representative Shirley Chisholm, to be displayed in the United States Capitol.

A native of New York, Chisholm served in the New York State Assembly before she was the first Black woman to be elected to the United States Congress. Chisholm was also a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the first Black woman to seek a major party’s nomination for President.

“Shirley Chisholm created a path for me and the 40 Black women members of Congress who have served after her,” said Harris. “While there is still work to be done for equal representation, we must also stand back and celebrate our triumphs along the way. Shirley’s legacy is one that encourages us to keep up the fight for our most voiceless and vulnerable, and deserves to be cemented in the United States Capitol.”

“Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm was a proud New Yorker and as the first black woman elected to the United States Congress and to run for the presidential nomination of a major party she was a great trailblazer in American political history,” said Gillibrand. “She fought every day to improve people’s lives in her city, her state, and her country. Her legacy continues to inspire young women to raise their voices, speak out about the issues that matter to them, and even run for office themselves. A statue in the U.S. Capitol is a fitting way to commemorate her legacy, and I am proud to support this effort.”

“Shirley Chisholm was a remarkable woman who defied boundaries and prejudices to blaze a trail for African-Americans,” said Booker. “It’s only fitting that the fearless leader who demanded a seat at the table be honored with a statue at the Capitol. This bill is a testament to the debt and gratitude leaders in America owe to Shirley for paving the way and helping make our government more representative and reflective of the people it serves.”

This bill is part of a bicameral effort with a companion bill introduced last month in the House of Representatives by 56 Democratic co-sponsors. Currently, there are four statues and busts in the United State Capitol representing African Americans, including Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Sojourner Truth.

In addition to Harris, Gillibrand, and Booker, the bill is cosponsored by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

The bill can be viewed here.