Martin Luther King Jr. Day and America’s first black lesbian mayor


It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and we’ve given our bloggers (and our staff) the day off. But in honor of the day — and so that you all still have something new to chew on — we’re going to run a few blog posts and vlogs highlighting and featuring black women.

First up: A political milestone in United States and lesbian history! Last week Denise Simmons became the first out black lesbian mayor in America. Although we don’t normally discuss politics much on (presidential race excepted), I wanted to bring you this news, courtesy of a tip by reader SillyTexasGirl, because it’s inspiring, ground-breaking, and overdue.

Simmons has served on the city council of Cambridge, Massachusetts since 2001, and was unanimously elected the city’s new mayor on January 14th by the city council. (Cambridge was also the first city to elect an openly gay black man, the outgoing Ken Reeves, as mayor).

When asked by the Cambridge Chronicle how she felt becoming the mayor, Simmons said, “It feels really great. When I first came to the School Committee, one of the things I always said was that I wanted to be mayor.”

I love that she’s not afraid to put it out there that being the mayor was her goal from the beginning. Too often women downplay their accomplishments, and make it seem like they got where they are almost accidentally, or primarily based on luck or the efforts of others.

I’m all for being a team player, but it’s refreshing to hear a woman say, in effect, “I set out to achieve this goal, and I did it.” Must be all that time Denise spent as a child playing with her I Want to Be Mayor Barbie.

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