Diversity in elected officials is critical to the inclusiveness of policy and governmental affairs.
It is important the government officials who are elected and make laws for the country are able to understand the people they are supposed to serve. A significant part of this is making sure these government officials are as diverse as the American people.
Throughout American history, politicians and government leaders have overwhelmingly been white men. This does not accurately represent the diversity of America. Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2019 show nearly four in 10 Americans identify with a race or ethnic group other than white.
Last week, Kamala Harris became the first Black person, first woman and first South Asian to ever be elected as vice president of the U.S.
But Harris wasn’t the only person to break racial, gender and social barriers in American politics this weekend.
Geoff Bradley, a Black man and IU graduate, was elected as a Monroe County Circuit Court Judge. Bradley has been a deputy prosecutor in Monroe County for 14 years, specializing in felony cases. Before his time as a prosecutor, he was an assistant prosecuting attorney in Ohio.
Bradley said he has demonstrated a commitment to professionalism, a fair and even-handed approach, integrity and impartiality. He will serve a six-year term in this position where he can be effective and serve this community.
Black Lives Matter activist Cori Bush became the first Black woman elected to represent Missouri in Congress. After the 2014 shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Bush became involved in politics, running a progressive campaign supporting Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.
Ferguson is in the same district Bush was elected, and now she has more power to change the city that started her journey into politics.
After winning his district in the Bronx, New York, Ritchie Torres became the first openly gay Afro-Latino to ever be in congress.
Torres grew up in the Bronx in public housing and knows first hand many of the economic and educational problems citizens in the district face. Torres has served the Bronx since 2013 as a city council member and as a member of Congress, he hopes to fight for quality health care, affordable housing and better schools in the community he started in.
All four members of “the squad” were reelected into their seats in Congress. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York’s 14th District, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan’s 13th District, Ayanna Presley of Boston’s 7th District and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota’s 5th District make up the political powerhouse.
These women have used social media to attract younger Americans and got their name after Ocasio-Cortez posted a picture of all four of them together on Instagram captioned “squad.” Their reelection shows the American people are positively responding to the work they are doing.
The election season brought anxiety and uncertainty for many Americans, but there is starting to be a light at the end of the tunnel. American politics is slowly but surely becoming a place for all people — no matter their race, gender or sexual orientation.