Iconic Public Servant is All the Rave at Black Caucus
By Kenneth Miller, Publisher
WASHINGTON, DC—When she was voted to Congress in 1991, U.S. Representative Maxine Waters was among a small group of just 25 Black women in the House, the most in the history of the United States, now some 31 years later she is the most revered in that illustrious legislative body.
That distinction was most evident during the 51st Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference at the Convention Center in Washington DC during the week of Sept. 28-October 1.
Waters was most omnipresent at the Congressional Black Caucus signature event which culminated with The Phoenix Awards dinner that was attended by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris where they delivered a tag team address hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation at its 51st Annual Leadership Conference.
This year’s Annual Leadership Conference theme was “Advancing Our Purpose. Elevating Our Power.” This is a year of action, and sparking Black civic engagement is more crucial than ever as we face a pivotal election season in November, the mission stated.
No one could have been more center stage than the California Democrat representing the 43rd district that includes a population of 748,092 residents that takes in the cities of Hawthorne, Lawndale, Compton, Inglewood, Compton, Torrance and Watts.
It is because of her robust advocacy for those constituents that Waters has garnered a national reputation as a fierce and determined fighter for those less fortunate and a thorn in the side of conservatives who try stand in her way from achieving goals that benefit her district.
Here in the United States Capitol on an occasion where the absolute best Black display of leaders, officials and aspirants of such were honored, saluted and celebrated, but it was Waters who by my account left the most lingering impression.
Not that the contingent of state, city and local officials from Michigan, Houston and others were not as impactful, but as Waters legendary career continues to raise the bar that most of these politicians attempt to reach, she pushes it even further.
She led a panel “Black Women Rule”; a historical conversation with some of the most powerful Black women leaders in government who are taking on Wall Street to save those on Main Street, and also are working tirelessly to solve the looming homeless crisis.
In a jammed pack ballroom at the Convention Center, Waters convened The Honorable Marcia Fudge, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, The Honorable Sandra Thompson, Director, Federal Housing Agency and Erica Williams, Chair, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.
“Maxine has done more for people of color than any other person that I can think of,” Fudge said to a rousing applause. “She takes on every battle. Maxine just like to fight, but I just fight right with you.”
Fudge was not alone in gushing praise aimed at The Chair of Financial Services Committee, arguably the most influential in the House of Representatives.
“I am just so honored to be here and sit up on the stage where I can learn and take in and sit up on this stage and grow and develop and do what I am supposed to do,” added Thompson.
“Chairwoman I want to thank you so much for just allowing me to be here today and on a panel with such accomplished women,” stated Williams.
Each of the esteem panelist went into broad detail about their respective agencies while being queried by Waters.
In just a few hours later, Waters was honored at her 25th Annual Gala Affair, sponsored by the NAMD, National Association of Automobile Dealers, Bob Johnson, Founder of BET and RLJ Companies, PayPal, The Marvin Group, Jackson Yang-Seville Classics, Alfred Liggins, Simon Pang and Kevin Aniskovich, CEO Jumo Health.
With Congressional colleagues Kweisi Mfume (D-MD), Al Green (D-TX), powerful Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority/CEO Stephanie Wiggins among those in the audience awaiting her arrival, Waters was brought into the hotel meeting room flanked by her daughter Karen Waters.
Both wearing an elegant white attire and comforted by a galaxy of family members in tow which included her son Ed Waters, Crenshaw High School, head basketball coach, Waters arrived to finally be introduced by mistress of ceremonies and noted television commentator Angela Rye, the Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, a political advocacy firm.
Rye informed the group that she interned with Waters and continues advocating on her behalf today.
While the tribute “Reclaiming My Time”, an ode to when Waters showed she was no pushover when she squared off with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at a House Financial Services Committee hearing.
The event was undoubtedly an acknowledgement to the iconic Waters, but it also revealed a side that has never been known to anyone other than her close knit family members.
Waters hails from a large family from St. Louis of 14 and some were in attendance for her gala.
As Karen would so delicately explain in her address to the audience, Waters is first and foremost a mother, wife a real aunt, and the matriarch of the Waters Family.
When Karen’s devoted husband died in January of this year, it was Waters who comforted her.
“I’ll try not to get emotional, but this is a very important day for me because I haven’t seen my family,” Karen shared, wiping away tears. “I haven’t seen my family in St. Louis in few years, so just to get that hug from them is amazing. I am very emotional because on January 17 my husband died. Let’s take this moment to understand how important family is. While you see my mother on television as Congresswoman, and Auntie, my mother is a mother! And many of you don’t see that, you just see her in television. For almost two to three months straight do you know who stayed with me when my husband died? Who slept with me? My Mother! So, when you give her accolades, keep in mind she’s not just an elected official or politician she’s a mother, a wife, a grandmother, she’s real person, a down to earth badass sister,” Karen concluded to a resounding approval.
And who could doubt that?