“I am, and always will be, a catalyst for change.”

On New Year’s Day seventeen years ago, just over a month after her 81st birthday, Shirley Chisholm made her transition to become an ancestor.

While on this earth, Shirley Chisholm sought to, in her words, “ameliorate the human condition” through her work in New York City’s daycares, public schools and college campuses, from the New York State Assembly, U.S. Congress, and in the streets and neighborhoods as a political organizer. And she lived her life in such a way to inspire the generations to continue the fight.

As a freshman Congresswoman, Chisholm said that her political destiny was intertwined with the people. She said:

“Whether I will survive or not will depend on the People. I mean that.”

And after her 1972 presidential campaign, she wrote:

“I will not run for President again, but in a broad sense my campaign will continue. In fact, it is just beginning.”

With these words, Chisholm was not only speaking about her political campaigns. She was talking about the continuation of her mission to organize, empower and uplift the people—especially marginalized populations. On New Year’s Day 2005, Shirley Chisholm began her well-earned rest from her earthly work. On the dawning of the year 2022, we reclaim her work as our own.

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