On Day 4 of the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme we meet the Honourable Karen Bass, an American politician who has served in the United States House of Representatives since 2011. Karen Bass made history when the California Assembly elected her to be its 67th Speaker, thereby making her the first African American woman in the country to serve in this powerful state legislative role.
Karen Bass was re-elected to her second term representing the newly drawn 37th Congressional District in November 2012. In Congress, she has been an outspoken advocate for balanced fiscal policies that preserve the social guarantee to seniors and invest in the future. She also serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where she is Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations. Congresswoman Bass’ main focus since her election have been on reforming on America’s foster care system and strengthening the United States’ relationship with Africa. On Africa, she was instrumental in bringing legislators, advocacy groups and international leaders together to extend the third country fabric provision of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The provision supports stability, development, and economic growth of sub-Saharan African countries by protecting jobs in the apparel sector and providing some of the best markets for American businesses to sell their goods and services. In an effort to be responsive to the people in her district, Representative Bass has also created the Congressional Council, which provides an opportunity for constituents to learn firsthand about the issues in Congress and how to become involved in the legislative process. The Council, composed of all volunteers, seeks to engage other District residents in public policy, both domestic and internationally.
Before serving as an elected official, Karen Bass became interested in community activism as a child watching the Civil Rights movement with her father. It was at that time that she made a lifetime commitment to effecting social change in her community and abroad. She worked for nearly a decade as a Physician Assistant and served as a clinical instructor. In 1990, in response to the crisis that was gripping inner city America, Karen Bass started and ran the Community Coalition, a community-based social justice organization in South Los Angeles that empowers residents to become involved in making a difference. Through her leadership at the Community Coalition, she worked to address the drug and violence epidemic and to engage community residents in addressing the root causes of injustice.
Words cannot express how inspiring meeting such a remarkable lady was and I left the meeting feeling quite invigorated about the future for not just my brand, but also what I could do to give back to my community.
Dress: Madam Wokie