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Pelosi & Lee's Remarks at Portrait Unveiling Ceremony for Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm








Contact: Brendan Daly/Nadeam Elshami/Drew Hammill, 202-226-7616

Tuesday, March 3, 2009





Pelosi Remarks at Portrait Unveiling Ceremony for Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm


Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee, and Members of the CBC held a portrait unveiling ceremony this afternoon, March 3, for the late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm.  This year marks the 40th anniversary of Congresswoman Chisholm’s swearing in as a Member of the House.  Below are the remarks of the Speaker as prepared:


“Thank you, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.  Congresswoman Clarke represents a large portion of Shirley Chisholm’s former district, but she also represents many of Congresswoman Chisholm’s priorities: care for our children and our seniors, affordable housing and health care, and opportunity for all Americans. 


“I would also like to acknowledge Congresswoman Barbara Lee. She has said that her life in public service was inspired by Shirley Chisholm – she now chairs the Congressional Black Caucus that Shirley Chisholm helped found. 


“When Shirley Chisholm joined our colleagues Chairman John Conyers and Chairman Charlie Rangel, among others, to found the CBC, it had just 13 members.  In that year, 1969, she imagined the organization that would grow to 42 members today, and serve as the conscience of the Congress.  It stands as tribute to Congresswoman Chisholm’s vision of a Congress that represents all Americans. 


“Less than a year before she died, Congresswoman Chisholm was asked how she wanted to be remembered.  She said then, ‘I want history to remember me not just as the first black woman to be elected to Congress, not as the first black woman to have made a bid for the presidency of the United States, but as a black woman who lived in the 20th century and dared to be herself.  I want to be remembered as a catalyst for change in America.’


“Today, as we welcome this beautiful portrait to the Capitol grounds, we ensure that Shirley Chisholm will indeed long be remembered as a catalyst for change in America.  A brave pioneer, Shirley Chisholm was unwilling to settle for the status quo. 


“With this portrait, we make certain that when the story is told about some of the most critical struggles in our nation’s history – the unending fight for the ideal of equality that is both our nation’s heritage and our hope – Shirley Chisholm’s name is remembered.


“Thank you.”


#  #  #



For Immediate Release

March 3, 2009

Contact: Nicole Y. Williams

(202) 225-2661

Barbara Lee Commemorates Women’s History Month

Honors the Legacy of Late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm


Washington, DC Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee released the following statement commemorating Women’s History Month and paying tribute to the late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm following the unveiling of a portrait of Chisholm that will be displayed in the Capitol. Congresswoman Lee hosted the event in her capacity as Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.


“Abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth once said, ‘If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!’


“As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let us reflect on the generations of women who came before us and their many contributions that have brought us to this place in our history. Whether they were fighting for equal rights and equal pay in the workplace, marching for voting rights or working hard to provide for their families, we pause to pay tribute to the many ‘sheroes’ both known and unknown.

“I am pleased to pay tribute to my personal heroine and mentor Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. This year, we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Rep. Chisholm being elected as the first African American Woman to the U.S. Congress.  A trailblazer, Rep. Chisholm was also a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the first woman to vie for a major political party presidential nomination.

She had a profound impact on my life. Were it not for her encouragement, I would not have registered to vote and ultimately run for elected office. Along with many of my women colleagues, I stand on her enduring shoulders.

“As we remember Rep. Chisholm and those great women of our past, we also celebrate the promise of those women yet unborn. That they may have even more opportunities than we have because of the sacrifices, blood, sweat and tears of the many women warriors who have and continue to fight for justice and equality for all and in the words of Sojourner Truth -  are working to turn the world “right side up again.’”

Women’s History Month is celebrated in the United States every year during the month of March.






Nicole Y. Williams

Communications Director

The Honorable Barbara Lee (CA-9)

2444 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

(202) 226-0323 (Direct)

(202) 579-1925 (Cell)

(202) 225-9817 (Fax)

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