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Public Statements

National Women's History Museum

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Thank you so much to my friend, the gentlelady from New York. It is an absolute privilege and pleasure to be your friend, to be your housemate, and to join you and our distinguished colleagues and friends on the House floor tonight to continue the press and the push for a national women's museum. This has been a longtime goal and passion of yours.

I was so pleased when you came home and told me of your excitement that you had enlisted the gentlelady from Tennessee to cosponsor this effort. I just knew between the two of you, it is very clear that this is going to happen, because the combination of BLACKBURN and MALONEY is just unstoppable, there is no question.

It is wonderful to be here with our colleague from Wyoming. We have had an opportunity to travel internationally together and actually, specifically, to the state of Israel, in which we had an incredible opportunity to bond.

That is what the women Members--in spite of maybe some of the disagreements and vitriol that, sadly, permeates the House of Representatives from time to time, the women Members really do have a bond.

The wonderful thing about our Women's Caucus is that we come together around issues like this, so when everything else is swirling around us in disagreement, the Women's Caucus' goal is always to come together and try to find some common ground and advance the cause of women.

Let me just take a moment to honor and acknowledge our wonderful colleague from Ohio, Marcy Kaptur, because she is too humble and modest to brag on herself.

We should point out that she is actually currently the dean of women, the longest-serving woman in the House of Representatives today, and someone who I have the honor of serving on the House Appropriations Committee with.

She does a wonderful job, is an incredible advocate for the State of Ohio and for the Midwest, so I wanted to make sure we acknowledged her.

I am here, I am proud to join you, not only to continue our quest for a National Women's History Museum, but also to honor and acknowledge Women's History Month. We do that each March, where we honor and we remember the women who came before us, the women who worked to make the world a better place, who blazed trails for us to walk on and who opened doors for us to walk through.

I think each of us could tell a story about a woman whose shoulders we stand on. I know that, when I ran for the Florida House of Representatives when I was 25 years old, 21 years ago, that would never have been possible without the trail blazed by the women in Florida who came before me, who had it so tough, and who made it possible for me to even think about the possibility of running at that stage of my life.

So, really, we are here during Women's History Month to honor our foremothers and create a Women's History Museum to do just that.

We have historical activists like Mildred Loving, who, in 1967, successfully challenged the banning of interracial marriage in the U.S. Supreme Court.

We have more recent leaders, like Janet Yellen, who, this past year, became the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve.

Amazing women that I have met and come to know in my own home district in South Florida:

Ronnie Oller, a community organizer and philanthropist who organizes an annual event to provide children with free health care and education services;

Josie Bacallao, the leader of Hispanic Unity, which provides Hispanic and other immigration communities with the services and tools they need to live productive, civically engaged lives;

And a young woman who named Valeria Hansen who, at just 15 years old, is the founder of the first south Florida chapter of Girl Up, a campaign that promotes girls' empowerment and education worldwide through social media, fundraising, and advocacy.

We celebrate all of these women, not only for their accomplishments, but for having the drive and tenacity to overcome barriers to equal opportunity and lead by example.

The challenges of sexism, discrimination, and inequality future generations of daughters will have to face are significantly diminished thanks to the brave women who have come before us.

I think we should also acknowledge our colleague, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, who was the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress, someone who is a great friend of all of ours, who we are so proud of, and is so collegial, so warm, and such a wonderful person and leader to work with.

Former Congresswoman Carrie Meek, and our current colleague, Congresswoman Corrine Brown, who were the first African American women elected to Congress from Florida. These are tremendous sources of pride for us as women leaders.

I want to congratulate the gentlelady from New York and the gentlelady from Tennessee on their commitment to building the National Women's History Museum. We really need to build it, so that we can note the accomplishments and progress of women throughout American history because it is important to do that in so many ways.

As the mother of two young daughters--and each of the women here tonight have met my daughters on numerous occasions--and are all about girls' empowerment, we are a girl power caucus as women Members.

If we build this National Women's History Museum, we are going to have an opportunity to have a showcase--a place where we can show our daughters everything that is possible because of the achievements of who came before us.

Instead of having to try to thumb through a history book and hope that a teacher or a professor along the way gave them some understanding about what was possible, we give them a place that they can go, show them what is possible, and show generations of younger women coming behind them as well.

Thank you so much.


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