Why 100 Black Women Gathered in a Replica U.S. Senate Chamber to Raise Awareness

More than 100 black women gathered in Boston to symbolically take a seat in the Senate.

By Carla Hay July 15, 2016, 7:00 AM EDT

Photo: Eric Haynes

Currently, there are no black women in the United States Senate, and to raise awareness of the issue, Higher Heights and Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley gathered more than 100 black women in a replica of the U.S. Senate chamber at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston on Tuesday.

The “visual protest,” at which Pressley spoke, also marked the 40th anniversary of Barbara Jordan's historic Democratic National Convention keynote address: Jordan, a former member of the United States House of Representatives, was the first black woman to deliver the speech.

The attendees of the political gathering, who were asked to “Take Your Seat” and elevate black women's voices, included Massachusetts first lady Diane Patrick; faith leader Mariama White Hammond; Higher Heights co-founders Glynda Carr and Kimberly Peeler-Allen; and Sarah-Ann Shaw, the first female African-American reporter to be televised in Boston.

In a statement, Pressley said: “This is a visual protest ... to affirm for ourselves and to the nation that black women lead, black women run, and black women vote. The visual shot heard around the world is merely snapshot of our contributions, but a visual protest and demonstration nonetheless as we take over a space we have historically been underrepresented in.”

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