"This is definitely a night to remember," Cori Bush said in the stirring speech she delivered after being elected to Missouri's first congressional district, which includes St. Louis and Ferguson. After upsetting 10-term incumbent Lacy Clay in a primary, Bush went on to defeat Republican Anthony Rogers and Libertarian Alex Furman, effectively becoming the state's first Black congresswoman. Surrounded by family on stage, the representative-elect said, "This has been a historic day from beginning to the end."
This will mark Bush's first time holding elected office, although she ran for the Senate in 2016, and the House in 2018. Prior to her election, Bush was a registered nurse, a pastor, and a community organiser. She was also instrumental in the Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson that followed the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in 2014. Addressing her fellow activists from the front lines in Ferguson who "put their bodies on the line for more than 400 days for this movement," Bush said, "This win is for you."
"This is our moment."
Bush then spoke to her own life experiences — as a single parent, as someone who has been uninsured, as someone who was a COVID-19 patient — and how they will inform her time in office. "I'm still that person. I'm proud to stand before you today knowing it was this person with these experiences that moved the voters of St. Louis to do something historic," she said. "To the Black women, the Black girls, the nurses, the essential workers, the single mothers: this is our moment." Bush later added, "I'm here — right now, today, elected — to serve you."
Bush was among many women to make history on Nov. 3, including Daniella Levine Cava, who who'll become Miami-Dade's first woman mayor, and Delaware's Sarah McBride, who'll be the first openly transgender senator. Also signaling a progressive congressional future, all four members of The Squad (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib) were reelected.
"Tonight, we the people are victorious. We the people are going to Congress together, because we the people have committed to a vision of America that works for all of us," Bush said. "Our America — not Trump's America — will be led not by the small-mindedness of a powerful few, but the imagination of a mass movement that includes all of us. That is the America we are fighting for."
Bush then ended her speech by congratulating fellow Black Lives Matter activists. "This moment is brought to us by us — by our movement for social, racial, and economic justice," she said. "Now, our movement is going to Congress, and we will meet the challenges of this moment as a movement side by side, arm in arm, with our fists in the air ready to serve each other until every single one of us is free."