Meet The Woman. Rep. Barbara Lee Literally Handed The Congressional Baton To


Lateefah Simon, a congressional candidate for California’s 12th District, stopped into outgoing Rep. Barbara Lee’s election headquarters in Oakland on Super Tuesday to wish the veteran congresswoman well in her bid for the United States Senate.

I’d been told she was catching a flight back to Washington, D.C.,” said Simon, whose campaign shared an office building downtown. “I wanted to say hello and show my support.

However, it was the congresswoman who surprised Simon with a gift. During a news conference, she held the candidate’s hand and practically passed her the baton in front of supporters and the media.

“Barbara gave me an actual baton,” Simon, 47, said of the glossy blue cylinder, which she took amid cheers and acclaim. “I felt humbled. It is an honor and a big responsibility, and I believe I must live up to it.”

Earlier this month, Simon emerged as the top vote-getter in a field of nine, receiving 55% of the vote in the primary for the seat Lee had held for 26 years. Simon will face Jennifer Tran, a fellow Democrat, in the general election in November.

Simon is presently the president of Meadow Fund, which gives grants and funding to organizations concerned with racism, gender, justice reform, and voting rights. She also serves on the Bay Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors, a position she says she was voted for because of her “reliance” on public transit.

Her previous positions as a civil rights advocate and nonprofit leader over the last two decades have been mostly focused on equitable efforts.

“I have spent my career fighting for people who have traditionally not had a voice in places of power,” the San Francisco native stated.

Simon said she is inspired by women leaders like Lee and Vice President Kamala Harris, who she claims identified and nurtured her talent early on.

Simon and Lee first met years ago at Mills College, an all-woman’s college that will join Northeastern University in 2022. “She was teaching a course, and I was one of her students,” Simon explained. “We’ve been in touch ever since. “I just love her.”

Although they were born decades apart, their lives have had some similarities. Both became single mothers at an early age, occasionally bringing their children to class due to a lack of child care. Both recognized the potential of politics, advocacy, and community organizing to influence change.

Simon now wants to represent the district where Lee, the highest-ranking Black woman elected to Democratic leadership in the House, has served since 1998.

According to U.S. Census data, California’s 12th District is one of the most diverse, politically progressive areas in the country, home to cities such as Berkeley, where the free speech movement flourished, and Oakland, which practices liberation politics.

Lee decided to run for the Senate rather than re-election in the House, seeking the seat previously held by the late Dianne Feinstein and currently held by her appointed successor, Sen. Laphonza Butler, who has decided not to compete for re-election. Lee lost the primary to a Democratic colleague, Rep. Adam Schiff, who will face Republican Steve Garvey in November after finishing second in the primary.

Meanwhile, Lee intends to complete her House term until a new member is sworn in next January. She has formally supported Simon, describing her as a “true fighter for peace and justice.”

“Lateefah is from and for the community,” Lee stated. “From her teenage years working to support young women and trans youth, to fighting to make public transit more affordable and accessible, she is a fierce advocate and proven leader.”

Simon, who was born legally blind, said she has faced discrimination and overcome obstacles that have instilled in her empathy and a lifelong commitment to advocating for people in need.

Follow or bookmark sky21 for more updates.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.