Sen. Laphonza Butler Introduces Bill to Honor Rep. Shirley Chisholm With Congressional Gold Medal, Statue

Bo Tefu | California Black Media

U.S. Sen. Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.) announced last week she is co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill to honor Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to the United States Congress.

Butler, the only Black woman currently serving in the U.S. Senate, and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA.) proposed the legislation to posthumously endow Chisholm with Congress’s highest award in commemoration of her accomplishments, activism, and legacy.

If the bill passes, Congress will present Chisholm, who was elected in 1968 to represent New York’s 12th District in the United States Congress with the Congressional Gold Medal. A statue of Chisholm will also be erected in the U.S. Capitol in her memory.

“Shirley Chisholm left a mark on our nation’s history that demands its own recognition,” Butler said. “She was a trailblazer — the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first to run for President — who opened doors for generations of Black women,” Butler added.

Chisholm, a lifelong public servant, worked in education and social services before being elected as the second African American to the New York State Assembly in 1964. She is remembered as a passionate leader who advocated for women and minorities through legislation she introduced and supported.

Warnock said Chisholm’s legacy inspired him to fight for the rights and well-being of Black Americans. “Shirley Chisholm broke barriers for Black women, Black Americans, and any American who refuses to be confined by injustice,” Warnock said.

“As an educator, and a trailblazing Congresswoman and presidential candidate, she fought for an inclusive democracy, one that lives up to our nation’s highest ideals of equity and justice under the law,” he added.

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