Though many are shocked and saddened by the results of this year’s Presidential election, there is a silver lining for women of colour everywhere. The U.S. has elected four women of colour to join the Senate, including Catherine Cortez Masto, who will be the first Latina Senator in the U.S.
The three politicians join existing Hawaiian Senator Mazie Hirono. Hirono, the first Asian-American woman ever appointed to the Senate, is currently the only woman of colour serving in the Chamber.
“As an immigrant who came to America with my mother and brothers as a young girl, I know how important it is to reform our immigration system. Beyond just bringing the some 11 million documented immigrants out of the shadows, any effort to reform our immigration system should also address the challenges immigrant women and families face.” – Mazie Hirono
Endorsed by Bernie Sanders, Pramila Jayapal is the first Indian-American woman to be elected to congress. Born in India and raised in Indonesia and Singapore, Jayapal came to the United States at 16 years old to attend college. Before becoming a member of the Washington Senate, she received a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown and an MBA from Northwestern. She is also the author of Pilgrimage: One Woman’s Return to a Changing India.
“I’m committed to fighting for women in all aspects of their lives, including raising the minimum wage, implementing paid sick, safe and family leave and ensuring women are accorded the power and voice that they deserve for the places they hold in the home, in the workplace, and in the community.” – Pramila Jayapal
Daughter of an Indian-American mother and Jamaican-American father, Kamala Harris is also the first female, the first African-American, the first Indian-American, and the first Asian-American attorney general in California. She is also the second black woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate.
“I will be a fighter for middle class families who are feeling the pinch of stagnant wages and diminishing opportunity. I will be a fighter for our children who deserve a world-class education, and for students burdened by predatory lenders and skyrocketing tuition. And I will fight relentlessly to protect our coast, our immigrant communities, and our seniors.” – Kamala Harris
Catherine Cortez Masto
Nevada’s first ever female senator, Catherine Cortez Masto, was born in Nevada to a Mexican-American father and an Italian-American mother. Mastro is the first Latina to be ever elected to the U.S. Senate.
“I support comprehensive immigration reform that secures our borders and allows millions of undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows to earn a path to citizenship. Congress needs to do its job and pass immigration reform to keep families together.” – Catherine Cortez Masto
In the ultimate karmic retribution, Tammy Duckworth unseats Illinois GOP Senator Mark Kirk, who mocked Duckworth’s Thai heritage during a debate in October. Not only is Duckworth the first Asian-American women elected to Congress in Illinois, she is the first physically disabled woman to be elected in the U.S. House of Representatives (losing both her legs to Operation Iraqi Freedom). She is also the first member of Congress born in Thailand.
“Police officers are trying to do their jobs, but we also must understand that people who grew up in black and brown communities feel and experience a level of discrimination that other people do not.” – Tammy Duckworth
Though the U.S. still has miles to go in terms of representation (considering this is only 5 out of 100 Senate seats), this increase in women of colour–the largest in any American election–is still a step in the right direction. Hillary Clinton sadly may not have shattered the highest glass ceiling, but these four women just may be the hope America needs.