COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Get ready for “Wakanda Forever.” Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, (D) 3rd Dist, says you will be hearing the battle-cry of Black Panther’s female warriors over and over again.
“When you saw the women coming with their spears for their freedom they embraced themselves and said, ‘Wakanda’ – it’s our freedom,” said Beatty.
Beatty says it’s inspirational at a pivotal time for women. She sees parallels between the fictional army of women and the real women of the “MeToo Movement” who have spent the past year rising up against harassment, discrimination, pay inequity, even rape. Beatty believes women are marching toward a social breakthrough, and she wants to make Congress keeps pace.
Beatty is one of the U-S House members who demanded an end to the slush fund, used to buy the silence of women who accused members of Congress of sexual harassment.
“Oh, my God, fifteen million dollars of silence money, and some of the payoff amounts were hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money.”
I spoke with Beatty about the MeToo movement, and the Women’s March on Washington, which she compares to the Civil Rights movement and protests against the war in Vietnam. Change, she says, comes “through public outcry” but also through small victories.
Early in her professional career Beatty, led the HR Department for Montgomery County, overseeing 500 employees and given the responsibility for investing a 50-million dollar fund. Leading CEOs were invited to a meeting to discuss investment options, and Beatty says she dressed in her best black suit and starched white blouse to look professional as she welcomed the business leaders to the meeting.
“And, I was standing at the door to greet the CEOs, and a gentleman walked in and said ‘I’ll take my coffee black please at the table.’ And, for a few seconds there were a lot of things I wanted to say and I said thank you I’ll put it there, and I sat the coffee down,” she said.
She says after serving the coffee, “the greatest moment came when I hit the gavel down. I sat next to him and I said I will now call the meeting to order. The look on his face that I was leading that multi-million dollar meeting and I was not the person to get his coffee.”
Beatty celebrates the small victories and the big. She was the first woman to serve as Chair of the Urban League, the first female Senior Vice President of Outreach for the Ohio State University. The first woman, black or white, to serve as the Ohio House Democratic Leader, and now a member of Congress. ” But, you know what is the best of that? I can say that there’s been a second, and a third, and a fourth. To brag about ‘you’re first’ and not bring someone behind you? That doesn’t sit well with me.”