The Chisholm Project

A repository of women's grassroots social activism in Brooklyn since 1945

Maya Wiley & Dr. Fraser Discuss Chisholm, Transformational Politics

 “[Shirley Chisholm] was unwilling to change her position, or who she was, her experiences, or her authentic self, to seek higher office. And she was unapologetic about it. And that’s powerful.” 

This was what Maya Wiley, Esq, our 2020 Chisholm Day keynote guest, had to say on Monday when she reflected on the Brooklyn Congresswoman’s legacy with Dr. Zinga Fraser. The virtual celebration attracted 200-person virtual crowd. Although it was a departure from our traditional on-campus celebration at Brooklyn College, a wide array of people attended the celebration from the New York area and throughout the U.S. We also had guests from Europe and the Caribbean in attendance and a strong presence from Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.

 Dr. Fraser and Maya Wiley discussed Chisholm’s accomplishments, legacy and leadership style in their conversation. Dr. Fraser also asked our guest to speak to the audience about a number of present-day issues that Chisholm championed in her time, including educational policy, state violence against Black women and girls, socio-economic inequality and coalition politics. In addition to her experience as a political analyst, civil rights lawyer and racial justice advocate, Wiley is running in 2021 to be the next Mayor of NYC.

 Brooklyn College student Angela Peguero also reflected on the Congresswoman’s legacy, emphasizing her connection to poor and marginalized communities.

It was Chisholm’s incessant dedication to poor and working class Black and Latinx families, the well-being of their children, and ensuring that those who were systemically and historically silenced felt heard and supported. Shirley’s legacy is cemented in this. Not just holding a handful of titles for ‘firsts.’

 In her own introductory remarks and questions, Dr. Fraser also underscored the need to remember Chisholm’s fight for marginalized people, especially Black women. Keeping our eyes on this work, to advance women of color and their communities, is the best way to honor Chisholm:

 While the fight for broader representation is seen with historic election of Vice President Elect Kamala Harris, we still exist in a nation where Breonna Taylor can be murdered in her own bed where little or no accountability exists. This juxtaposition of accomplishments and failures has made the Shirley Chisholm Project even more vigilant in our campaigns that highlight the plight of black women and girls.”

  If you enjoyed our virtual celebration this year or would like to see more programs like it in the future, please consider donating to the Chisholm Project. To organize the public events, oral histories, student research projects, and new initiatives we have planned for the coming years, your financial support is critical. 

Here are the directions if you’d like to donate:

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