Weekly Democratic Address
December 11, 2020
Hello, I am Congresswoman-elect Nikema Williams. In November, the people of Georgia’s 5th Congressional District elected me to serve the district represented by my friend and mentor and our hero, Congressman John Lewis.
Just over a month ago, the American people went to the ballot box. With a record-shattering 81 million votes, including Georgia’s 16 Electoral College votes, Americans chose to send Joe Biden and my soror Kamala Harris to the White House, while delivering a strong Democratic House Majority to Congress.
In the House, we couldn’t be more proud of our Democratic Majority. This Majority is the most diverse in history, with nearly 70 percent of us being either women, people of color or LGBTQ Americans. As the Freshman class president, I look forward to our class adding to the diversity of our Democratic Caucus that truly represents our country.
The Congressional Black Caucus is stronger than ever before, with 57 members, some of whom will chair our most important committees, including Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, Homeland Security and Education and Labor.
The continued accomplishments of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus are even more meaningful when reflecting that Congressman Joseph Rainey of South Carolina was sworn in as the first Black Member of the U.S. House of Representatives exactly 150 years ago.
As I think back on this moment, I am reminded of the people who came before me and paved the way for me, a little Black girl from rural Alabama, raised in a home with no indoor plumbing and no running water to serve in the United States Congress.
People like my aunt Autherine Lucy, who integrated the University of Alabama.
People like Shirley Chisolm, who opened the door for Black women to serve in the United States Congress.
And people like Congressman John Lewis, who fought his entire life for a more fair and just society.
They all overcame obstacles of bigotry and racism.
But as we look back on the progress that we’ve forged in the fight for equality and representation, we must rededicate ourselves to the work ahead. We must ensure that the sacred pledge enshrined in our Founding documents, that all are created equal, aren’t empty words, but a reality for every American, no matter their ZIP Code, no matter their bank account.
In the upcoming Congress, Democrats will be relentless in our commitment to strengthening voting rights and fighting voter suppression by enshrining the John Lewis Voting Rights Act into law so that in every state and every voter has free and fair access to the voting booth.
We’ll be tireless in our work to combat disparities due to systemic racism in our society. Americans have tragically seen these faults on display in our nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which disproportionately affects communities of color. As I stand here, blessed to say that I am a COVID-19 survivor, we must ensure that we are giving all Americans the vital care and resources necessary to defeat this disease.
Democrats reaffirm our commitment to rooting out police brutality in our communities. We will do so with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act law to build a country where my son Carter’s Black life matters.
The road ahead won’t be easy. But we will be strengthened by the support of the American people, demanding justice, by the diversity and unity of our Democratic Caucus and by the inspiring legacy of those who came before us, such as Joseph Rainey, Shirley Chisolm and John Lewis.
Now, together, let us – as John Lewis would say – make “good trouble, necessary trouble,” and let us build a better, brighter future and deliver on the promise of America for all.