“We are neither post-racial nor post-gender,” Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) proclaims in a new essay taking on Congress for not addressing inequality.
One of the major barriers is that America’s elected officials don’t represent the most disenfranchised populations, Edwards argues in the Cosmopolitanmagazine piece, published on Tuesday.
“Can we pass equal pay laws and give women control of their own health-care decisions when women represent just 20 percent of Congress?” she says. Even when women get elected to office, men still hold the large majority of leadership positions, The New York Times pointed out last year.
“The Democratic Party will not survive the 21st century with the votes of people of color without the real leadership of people of color, especially black women, at every level.”
The essay is reminiscent of Edwards’ senate campaign. One male elected official criticized her for invoking “identity politics.”
“Race does matter,” she said during one debate.“It’s time that we had the ability to speak for ourselves.”
Edwards’ recent legislative efforts have included a bill addressing police brutality, the protection of Historically Black Colleges, and the push to encourage women and minorities to pursue careers in science and math.
Read her full essay here.