Congresswoman Maxine Waters has dedicated 41 years of her life to public service, tackling some of the most controversial issues with her “no-nonsense” style of politics. Throughout her political career, which began in the 1990s, she continued to take on some of the valiant legislation in the state of California like landmark affirmative action, the nation’s first statewide Child Abuse Prevention Training Program, the prohibition of police strip searches for nonviolent misdemeanors, and the introduction of the nation’s first plant closure law. She also played a vital role in the creation of the National Development and Voting Rights Institute.
Through all of her legislative initiatives, Waters has remained a product of the Black community and a voice for Black America. It was Waters who founded a community rebuilding project after the 1992 Civil Unrest. She also brought government officials and policy makers to South Los Angeles so they can better understand the issues of the people residing in those communities.
In Congress, Waters is a force to be reckoned with. She is an influential member of several Congressional Caucuses and Task Forces including: the Congressional Black Caucus, as the former chairwoman; Congressional Progressive Caucus as the co-founder; Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s disease as the co-chair; Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission; Congressional Diabetes Caucus.
While managing all that, she continues to find the time to confront poverty, economic development, and equal justice under the law, and other issues pertaining to people of color, women, children, and lower-income communities. During her career, she co-founded the non-profit organization, Black Women’s Forum, an organization of over 1,200 African American women in the L.A. area. She also founded Project Build to help local youth in Los Angeles housing developments with job training and placement.
Her work in the early 1990s as an advocate and political leader has carried over into present-day generations who dubbed her as “Auntie Maxine.” Water’s presence on social media, Twitter in particular, has proven to be tenacious amongst millennials by reminding them that she is always willing to use her platform to speak up on their behalf. She encourages young people to stand-up for their own rights by voting in upcoming elections.
“Black millennials need to know that they can make a significant difference in the upcoming mid-term elections, Waters said in an interview.
“If our millennials vote, we win. We can take back the House, we will keep many of our state legislature seats…if [millennials] go to the polls, and we win.”
In previous interviews, Waters has also urged young adults and youth to “embrace their creativity” and to work for what they want. All life lessons taught to her by her mother.
“In an industry where we rely on a lot of folks, I can do everything that’s related to my career, to the business that I’m in. I can write, I can design literature, I can raise money, I can organize and the reason that I’m able to do it, and I’m not bragging about it, is because that’s what my mother taught me,” Waters said.
Auntie Maxine’s extensive resume can continue for pages. The most memorable thing people will take away from her legacy is how she has and will continue advocating for Black America. Her work will inspire and motivate future generations to pursue politics as a potential career.