Last night on the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell inadvertently told the story of women throughout history: “Nevertheless, she persisted.”
Ironically, he meant his statement as a pejorative comment on Senator Elizabeth Warren, who was attempting to read Coretta Scott King’s 1986 letter to the Senate regarding then-US Attorney Jeff Session’s nomination to a federal judgeships. In her testimony, King urged the Senate not to confirm Sessions, based on his poor record on civil rights.
McConnell and his Republican colleagues voted to refuse Warren permission to continue speaking. McConnell stated: “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
A black woman who led the civil rights movement and a senator reading her words, silenced.
All of our lives, we have been warned. We have been explained to. We have persisted anyway.
Because we have children to feed and jobs to do and stories to tell. The strength that grows babies within our wombs sustains our persistence. We will never stop birthing a better future.
I am reminded of the words of another powerful woman of color, Maya Angelou:
“Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.”
When my first baby girl was born, I wrote her a blessing: May you roar like a lion.
We will not be silenced. We will roar. We will persist.