Cori Bush, who was elected Missouri’s first Black congresswoman on Nov. 3, says despite that accomplishment, her Republican colleagues failed to recognize her during an orientation session for new House members. Instead, several GOP legislators mistook her for Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in Louisville, Ky., last March. Bush was wearing a mask with Taylor’s name on it at the time.
The incident was a stark realization that despite worldwide press coverage about the Taylor shooting, apparently several elected government officials are still unfamiliar with the details around Taylor’s death or her image. Bush said it was one of the many issues she faces being a woman of color coming into such an important job, but she vowed to make her presence known, according to NBC News.
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Speaking to reporters, Bush said that while she set the record straight, she can identify with Breonna Taylor because of the nature of the shooting.
“I am Breonna Taylor as far as I could be a Black woman murdered in my bed tonight,” she said. “We have to stretch ourselves and pay attention to what’s happening in other parts of the country. This has been national news for a long time. People have protested in the street with this name and it just saddens me that people in leadership, people that want to be in leadership don’t know the struggles that are happening to Black people in this country and it’s disheartening and hurtful, absolutely hurtful.
“I didn’t hear it once, I didn’t hear it twice, I heard it several times,” Bush said.
Bush, 44, a single mother of two, defeated Republican Anthony Rogers and Libertarian Alex Furman to win Missouri’s 1st Congressional District. She defeated incumbent Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr. in the Democratic primary in August, ending the five-decade political dynasty of the Clay family.
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She first became politically involved as an activist in 2014 protesting the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. She previously ran for office twice unsuccessfully; once for the Senate in 2016 and once for the House in 2018.
Now that she’s finally taking her seat in congress, Bush says she’ll also take the opportunity to let more people know about Taylor’s case and the many others that need attention.
"We'll educate and we'll make sure that people know who she is, what she stood for, that she was an award-winning EMT in her community, that she's someone who deserves justice right now," said Bush.
Photo Credit: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images
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