Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the longest serving black woman in the House of Representatives, has taken the internet by storm once again, after a routine House Financial Services Committee Meeting. Waters is known for being vocal about her criticisms, especially after Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly made some inappropriate comments about her appearance.
Water’s response to his criticism was direct and powerful. She said, “I am a strong black woman. I cannot be intimidated, and I’m not going anywhere.” The tweet was followed by the hashtag Black Women at Work.
Waters went viral this time, after refusing to be pushed around by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s answers to her questions. She started off her line of questioning by reminding Mnuchin of a letter that she, and other members of congress, sent to him. Mnuchin had not yet answered the letter.
She said, “Is there some reason why I did not get a response to the letter that I sent May 23rd?”
Mnuchin began his response by dancing around the subject, trying to flatter and distract Waters, and, most importantly, not answering her question.
Once the floor was hers again, she said, “Thank you for your compliments about how great I am but I don’t want to waste my time on me. I want to know about the May 23rd letter. You know about it, why did you not respond to me and my colleagues?”
Mnuchin, who was clearly becoming frustrated, yet doing himself no favors by not answering the question, took the time to say he was not supposed to be interrupted.
Waters had an answer for that, saying she was “reclaiming my time. What he failed to tell you was when you’re on my time I can reclaim it. He left that out so I’m reclaiming my time. Please will you respond?”
While Waters never truly got a sufficient answer to her question, her words have become a rallying cry for women and people of color everywhere. Waters words might not strike you right away, but they are a great example of how women, and people of color, have to go the extra mile just to get their questions answered – or even noticed and respected. Mnuchin tried very hard to minimize and deflect the questions coming at him, however, Waters took back the power, and made something great out of the situation.
As Kilgor said, when he released his gospel rendition of her words, “Our beloved ‘Auntie’ Maxine Waters laid this sermon down so good that I had to sing about it. Whenever anybody tries to distract me or block me (even with praise of platitudes) I’m gonna have to let them know that I’m #ReclaimingMyTime.”
Water’s words will certainly stick with all of us for a long time to come. We are all reclaiming our time.
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