CHICAGO (CBS) — Today marks the first day of Women’s History Month, and the Morning Insiders wanted to kick off March with some kick-butt females.
CBS 2’s Lauren Victory introduces us to two ladies decades apart in political experience, who are both inspiring people of all ages.READ MORE: Federal Prosecutors Claim Ald. Ed Burke Made Anti-Semitic Remark, Offer New Details About His Alleged Corruption And Former Ald. Solis' Cooperation
“I used to tell him, ‘If I was a state representative, I would have said this, I would have done that,’” Illinois State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) said in 2000, as she credited the later Mayor Harold Washington for her start in Illinois politics in the 1980s.
“He helped me put together a campaign,” Flowers said.
She still proudly tells that story.
“I was sworn in in 1985 in the House of Representatives, and I’ve been blessed to be there ever since; 36 years,” she said.
A fiery Flowers is currently the state’s longest-serving Black legislator. She’s particularly passionate about the treatment and health of Black women.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” she said.
And she has no plans to stop.
Neither does Bushra Amiwala. The Skokie native hit national headlines when she ran for office as a teenager.READ MORE: Matteson, Tinley Park Now Have Walk-In COVID Vaccine Sites, Open Through Saturday
“I guess ignorance is bliss, because I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” she said.
Her campaign for Cook County Commissioner in 2018 hit a few bumps, affected not by ageism but sexism, she said; like a write-up after a debate.
“It said ‘…and Bushra Amiwala wore a stylish light pink hijab to the forum’ and that’s all it said about me,” she said.
The Muslim American lost that race, but won a spot on the Skokie Board of Education District 73.5 at 21 years old in 2019, becoming the youngest Muslim elected official in the U.S.
Thinking of running too?
“You are a part of a special group of individuals who want to serve your community,” Amiwala said.
Both politicians stress that with power comes responsibility.
“Go in that room being prepared to listen. Watch who the players are, and how they negotiate, and then when you’re ready … You’re gonna rise to the occasion,” Flower said.
Two inspiring women fighting for equity in different spheres.MORE NEWS: COVID In Illinois: 2,765 New Cases, 28 Additional Deaths
Amiwala will be featured in a Hulu documentary out March 13 called “Our America: Women Forward.”