Shirley Chisholm was, and is, so much more than a symbolic first.
She was a mentor to an entire generation of women in politics, a pioneering strategist of diverse coalition-building, a founding legislator of programs such as WIC, SEEK and domestic workers’ benefits and a warrior against sexism in politics and racism in immigration policy. As important as her historic congressional and presidential campaigns were in changing the face of power in the United States, we also must work to articulate the substance of her work as a thinker, strategist and policymaker.
On Tuesday, we sought to do just that with our 50th Anniversary Symposium celebrating Chisholm’s monumental election to Congress. We hosted more than 500 people eager to learn about and participate in Shirley Chisholm’s legacy. For over 10 years, before much of the public acknowledgement of Chisholm we see today, we organized conversations with activists, scholars, community leaders and public officials such as Gloria Steinem, Donna Brazile, Beverly Guy-Shefthall and Anita Hill, to name a few. In addition, we’ve developed an archive and Oral History collection at Chisholm’s alma mater, Brooklyn College
Legendary poet, scholar and activist Dr. Sonia Sanchez, who honored us by headlining our symposium, framed Chisholm as a revolutionary who carried a radical humanism into the halls of established power. The turnout for our Chisholm Day 2018 celebration reminds us of the growing interest in Chisholm’s ongoing impact—and, of the work we still must do to expand the public consciousness about the way her life continues to reverberate through our own lives.
Under the guidance of its Director, Dr. Zinga A. Fraser, the Chisholm Project for Brooklyn Women’s Activism has broadened its public image and has served expert analysis to various media agencies which include The Associated Press, The Washington Post, NBC News, USA Today and many more.
Please consider offering your financial support to the Project. Your support will help us strengthen our efforts to keep Chisholm’s work and memory alive. It will help us to sustain the Oral History Project, which enables us to interview colleagues and contemporaries of Chisholm as well as figures who continue her tradition of leadership and activism. We are also planning to expand our mission in new ways—more educational events like Chisholm Day, student outreach, scholarships for young women emerging as leaders, and more!
To support the Project and Chisholm’s legacy, please visit: www.chisholmproject.com/contribute-to-the-project for details.