Ferguson activist Cori Bush recently became the first Black woman to represent the state of Missouri in Congress. The outrage she felt after unarmed teen Michael Brown was killed by then officer Darren Wilson propelled her to become a Black Lives Matter organizer. Moved to take her service to the community up a notch, Bush ran for Congress in 2018, theyear Black women were celebrating record numbers of victories nationally. Bush was not part of that celebration, as she lost her bid.
Undeterred, she ran again this year, and won. And though most Blacks and Democrats nationally are familiar with Bush and her story, the same cannot be said for the individuals on the other side of the aisle.
Bush found this out firsthand when she arrived to the new House member orientation. Dawning a mask with Breonna Taylor’s name, Bush thought it important to pay her respects to Taylor, an essential healthcare worker killed by police serving a “no-knock” warrant, on her first day on the Hill.
Despite the global publicity of Taylor’s case and cause, several of Bush’s GOP colleagues called her Breonna, thinking that was Bush’s name.
Bush responded on Twitter, saying:
“It’s Day One, so I’m wearing my ‘Breonna Taylor’ mask. A few of my Republican colleagues have called me Breonna, assuming that’s my name. It hurts. But I’m glad they’ll come to know her name & story because of my presence here. Breonna must be central to our work in Congress.”
It’s Day One, so I’m wearing my “Breonna Taylor” mask.
A few of my Republican colleagues have called me Breonna, assuming that’s my name.
It hurts. But I’m glad they’ll come to know her name & story because of my presence here.
Breonna must be central to our work in Congress.
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) November 13, 2020
Bush added, “I didn’t hear it once, I didn’t hear it twice, I heard it several times. I’m being called, you know, Breonna Taylor today. But it’s OK because we’ll educate and make people know who she is and what she stood for and that she was an award-winning EMT in her community and that she’s someone who deserves justice right now.”
Bush, a St. Louis native, joins the 177th Congress with the mandate to represent her District 1 constituents, as well as Taylor, Brown, and many others.