United States Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California has become a heroine to many of us, especially millennials, since she stood up for her principles and refused to attend President Trump’s inauguration or his first speech to Congress. Her willingness to speak honestly about her values and beliefs has won the respect of people in all age groups. As Sarah D. Wire reports for the Los Angeles Times, Waters explained that she doesn’t honor this president because of “his insulting comments about former presidential rivals Carly Fiorina and Hillary Clinton, the lewd ‘Access Hollywood’ video in which he bragged about grabbing women and his mocking imitation of a disabled reporter.” In addition, Lottie L. Joiner of Crisis Magazine reports that Waters is determined to do what she can to stop Trump’s agenda of undermining African American contributions to our democracy. According to Wire, Waters was born one of thirteen children raised by a single mother in St. Louis and began working at the age of thirteen. After high school, she moved with her family to California, began a career in public service as a teacher in the Head Start program, and earned a bachelor’s degree. She was elected to the California State Assembly in 1977, where she became a very effective legislator. In 1991, she was elected to Congress. Maxine Waters is my heroine because she has consistently fought for social and economic justice on the local, state, federal, and international levels. For example:
- While serving in the California state legislature, she led a drive to force the state pension system to divest billions of dollars in shares of companies that did business in South Africa in order to help end the oppressive system of apartheid.
- In her congressional district, she helped found organizations that promote black women and provide job training to young people.
- She helped write the Dodd-Frank Act, which instituted broad oversight of the banking industry after the 2008 market collapse.
- She helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- Waters created legislation to put money back into minority communities devastated by the crash of the housing market to produce housing for low-income people.
- Waters worked hard to draft legislation that funded HIV/AIDS research among minority populations.
- Currently Waters is working on closing the enormous wealth gap between blacks (and other minorities) and whites in the United States.