Congresswoman Ayanna Soyini Pressley is the first woman of color that people elected to Congress from Massachusetts. Ayana Pressley is a Squad member, anyone who is building a more just and equitable world.
Who is Ayanna Soyini Pressley?
Ayanna Soyini Pressley is an American politician who has worked as the United States Representative for Massachusetts’s 7th Congressional District since 2019. Ayanna Pressley’s District included the Northern three-quarters of Boston, most of Cambridge, and sections of Milton and the entire of Everett, Chelsea, Randolph, and Somerville. Ayanna Soyini is a member of the Democratic Party. She defeated the 10-term incumbent Mike Capuano in the primary election and ran unopposed in the General Election. People had elected Ayanna Pressley as an at-large participant or member of the Boston City Council in 2010.
The Early Life and Education of Ayanna Soyini Pressley
Ayanna Soyini Pressley was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her parents raised her in Chicago, Illinois, and she was the only child then. Sandra Pressley, Ayanna’s mother, worked several or multiple jobs to support the family. She also worked as a community organizer for the Chicago Urban League, campaigning for tenant’s rights. Martin Terrell, Pressley’s father, struggled with drug addiction (heroin addiction) and was in and out of prison for several years throughout Ayanna Soyini Pressley’s childhood. Still, in the end, he achieved several degrees and taught at the college level. The marriage of Ayanna’s parents ended painfully, through a divorce.
Ayanna Pressley grew up on the Northside of Chicago and went to the Francis W. Parker School. While at the prestigious private learning institution, Pressley was a cheerleader, did modeling, did voice-over work, appeared in Planned Parenthood bus adverts, and was a great competitive debater. During her senior year of high school, people voted Pressley as the ‘most likely to be mayor of Chicago’ and was the commencement speaker for her class. Later, Sandra Pressley moved to Brooklyn, where she worked as an Executive Assistant and later remarried. When people elected Ayanna Pressley to the Boston City Council, her mum would often attend the public gatherings or meetings, wearing a hat that said ‘Mama Pressley.’
For two years (1992-1994), Ayanna Pressley went to the College of General Studies at Boston University. However, she left school to take full-time work at the Boston Marriott Copley Place to support her mother. At that time, Ayanna Soyini Pressley’s mother had lost her job. Ayanna Soyini Pressley took extra courses at Boston University Metropolitan College.
Ayanna Soyini Pressley’s Earlier Political Career
After leaving Boston University, Ayanna Pressley worked as a District Representative for Representative Joseph Kennedy (D-MA), for whom she had interned during college. The work involved or included helping constituents with Social Security claims and working with veterans, senior citizens, and people with disabilities.
Ayanna Pressley became Joseph Kennedy’s scheduler and then worked as constituency director. In 2009, Ayanna Pressley functioned as the United States Senator John Kerry’s political director.
Ayanna Pressley on Boston City Council
As mentioned earlier, American citizens 1st elected Ayanna Pressley to the Boston City Council in November 2009. Upon her swearing-in on January 4th, 2010, she was the 1st female or woman of color to function in the 100-year history of the Boston City Council. The only woman in a field of more than ten candidates, Ayanna Pressley got one of four at-large spots on the City’s 13-member Council with close to 42000 votes.
In her 1st year as a City Councilor, Ayanna Pressley formed the Committee on Families, Healthy Women, and Communities, which addresses matters such as child abuse, domestic violence, and human trafficking. Ayana Pressley worked collaboratively with community members to develop a comprehensive health and sexual education curriculum and update the expectant and parenting student policy. The school authorities successfully implemented both into Boston Public Schools.
According to Erin O’Brien, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston, during Ayanna Pressley’s era or time on the City Council, she didn’t have a reputation for being an outsider or as a controversial figure.
In the Council election of November 2011, Ayanna Pressley faced competitive re-election and finished 1st among at large candidates with over 30000 votes. She won thirteen of the City’s twenty-two wards and finished 2nd in three others. Ayanna Pressley won Boston’s communities of color and several progressive neighborhoods. In all, Ayanna Soyini Pressley placed 1st in more than half of Boston’s over 20 wards. Ayanna Pressley topped the ticket again in November 2015 and November 2013 and placed 2nd in November 2017.
The Personal Life of Ayanna Soyini Pressley
Ayanna Soyini Pressley resides in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood with Conan Harris, her better half, and her step-daughter. In January 2019, Conan Harris, her husband, retired from his position as a senior public safety adviser at Boston City Hall to form his consulting company. His firm is called Conan Harris & Associates. Ayanna Pressley once confessed that she never learned how to drive and still uses other means of transport.
Ayanna Presley has been public about her experience as a survivor of child sexual abuse. According to reports, Ayanna Soyini Pressley was a victim of sexual assault while being a student at Boston University. In January last year (2020), Ayanna Pressley revealed that doctors diagnosed her with alopecia areata, resulting in her hair loss.
Her Political Positions
During Pressley’s victory speech following the September 2018 primary election, she accused Ex-US President Donald Trump of being a misogynistic, racist, and empathy-bankrupt man. Ayanna Pressley supported the impeachment of Donald Trump.
Ayanna Pressley is an advocate of Medicare for All. In 2019, Pressley and Senator Cory Booker launched the Healthy MOMMIES Act.
Ayanna Pressley supports the United States national anthem protests, which people (the athletes) have used to bring attention to police cruelty towards black men. On March 5th, 2019, Ayanna Soyini Pressley suggested lowering the voting age from eighteen years old to sixteen in an amendment she introduced in Congress. This was her 1st amendment on the House floor and was to amend the ‘For the People Act of 2019. On December 5th, the same year (2019), Ayanna Pressley, Senator Booker, Representative Cedric Richmond, Representative Marcia Fudge, and Representative Barbara Lee introduced an Act. The ‘Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act’ (CROWN) to ban discrimination based on hairstyles and hair textures in association with a particular national origin or race.
In June 2018, Ayanna Pressley called for the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement defunding, saying that law enforcement agency poses a threat to immigrant societies. In June the following year, Soyini Pressley was one of four Democratic representatives to vote against an Act. The Act was known as the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act.
In her political stand on sexual violence and sex work, Ayanna Pressley said she would make ‘ending sexual violence’ a chief priority in Congress’s job. Ayanna Soyini Pressley supports decriminalizing sex work and the act of prostitution.
On April 9th, 2019, Ayanna Pressley was one of 4 House Democrats to introduce the ‘Be Heard Act.’ Legislation intended to end the tipped minimum wage and ending mandatory arbitration and pre-employment non-disclosure agreements. The bill would also give laborers more time to report any form or kind of harassment.
Under Ayanna’s political position on Foreign Policy, Pressley voted (July 23rd, 2019) in favor of H. Res 246, a House Resolution which Illinois Congressman Brad Schneider introduced and condemns the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel. The Resolution passed 398-17, and Ayanna Pressley was the only member of The Squad to vote in favor of it. Speaking at a fundraiser with Ilhan Omar in Somerville (Massachusetts), Ayanna Pressley rebuked the 2020 Baghdad International Airport airstrike that killed Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian General.
In November 2019, Ayanna Pressley endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren for President. Ayanna Pressley, whom people named as one of Warren’s three national co-chairs, became a noticeable surrogate on the campaign circuit. After Senator Elizabeth Warren’s withdrawal, Ayanna Pressley neither transferred her support to the current United States President Biden nor to Sanders.
Ayanna Soyini Pressley is a supporter of prison support programs and reforms for prisoner re-entry that begins well before the authorities release an inmate from imprisonment. Last year (2020), Ayanna Pressley’s husband, who spent a decade in prison, testified before the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
In 2019, Ayanna Pressley introduced a resolution calling for a fix of the criminal justice system known as the People’s Justice Guarantee.
In June 2020, Ayanna Pressley and Justin Amash, Libertarian Representative, introduced the End Qualified Immunity Act.
From the works of Ayanna Soyini Pressley, we can conclude that she is a great black woman of character. Her taking a leadership role amidst a white society in America gives more black people the courage to rise and take similar positions, especially women. Ayanna’s truth about her medical condition portrays her as a woman of courage. Besides, it shows us that Ayanna Pressley values truth, integrity, and honesty.