On Jan. 3, the new members of the United States Congress will be sworn into office, officially making our legislative branch the most diverse it’s ever been. This swearing-in means we’ll officially have a new youngest Congresswoman in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the country’s first Muslim and Native American female representatives in Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib and Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland, respectively. States will have black female representatives for the first time ever (see Ayanna Pressley and Jahana Hayes), and young, millennial women will be getting a seat at the table (hello, Katie Hill).
In the run up to this historic day, ELLE.com asked a number of young women what this new Congress means to them and how this sort of representation affects how they view their government and, in turn, themselves.
“There’s a recurring theme in the musical Hamilton about wanting to be in ‘the room where it happens.’ I’ve never wanted to be in those rooms because I’ve never seen their impact or their value for me as a person. But where we once saw closed doors, glass ceilings, and overwhelming whiteness, we now see sisterhood, progressive alliances, and color. This new cohort has done more for transparency, accessibility, and motivating real people to see themselves advocating for their communities since the fireside chats. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Pressley, Rep. Omar, Rep. Haaland, and so many others… they’re bringing politics to the personal not just through their identities and use of technology but also through their unapologetic boldness in envisioning a new America. I expect this will dramatically shift who runs for office, what support these candidates can find in ‘the establishment,’ and a new level of accountability and partnership between people and their representatives. I couldn’t be more ecstatic.” —Brea Baker, 24, racial justice activist
Read more at Elle.com