Thank you everybody for coming. I’d like to start by thanking God, my family, my team, every organization that believed in our movement and endorsed this campaign, all the Ferguson frontline activists, and you, the people of St. Louis. Thank you.
So, I was running … I was that person running for my life across a parking lot, running from an abuser. I remember hearing bullets whizz past my head and at that moment I wondered: “How do I make it out of this life?”
I was uninsured. I’ve been that uninsured person… hoping my healthcare provider wouldn’t embarrass me by asking me if I had insurance. I wondered: “How will I bear this?”
I was a single parent. I’ve been that single parent struggling paycheck to paycheck, sitting outside the payday loan office, wondering “how much more will I have to sacrifice?”
I was that COVID-19 patient. I’ve been that COVID-19 patient gasping for breath, wondering, “how long will it be until I can breathe freely again?”
I’m. Still. That. Same. 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. St. Louis: my city, my home, my community. We have been surviving and gringing; just scraping by for so long, and now this is our moment to finally, finally start living. Let’s finally start living, let’s finally start growing, let’s finally start thriving. So, as the first Black woman, nurse, and single mother to have the honor to represent Missouri in the United States Congress… let me say this. To the Black women. The Black girls. The nurses. The single mothers. The essential workers. This. Is. Our. Moment.
Six years ago, St. Louis captured the eyes and ears of the entire world during the Ferguson uprising. We could not stand the injustice any longer, so – in the tradition of every one of our ancestors who fought for a better world – we organized for Michael Brown, Jr. We organized for more than 400 days, side by side, locked arm in arm, St. Louis strong. And now, in the face of a global pandemic and the relentless attacks on our right to vote, we organized all the way to the ballot box. We mailed in our ballots, we voted absentee, we reached our families, our friends, our neighbors, and our peers – and we showed up … St. Louis strong.
We have been surviving and gringing; just scraping by for so long, and now this is our moment to finally, finally start living.Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush
For years, we’ve lived under leadership that shut us out of our own government. For years, we’ve been left out in the cold: protesting in the streets, sleeping in our cars or tents, working three part-time jobs just to pay the bills. And today, today, we, all of us, are headed to Congress—St. Louis strong!
So my message today is to every Black, Brown, immigrant, queer, and trans person, and to every person locked out of opportunities to thrive because of oppressive systems; I’m here to serve you.
To every person who knows what it’s like to give a loved one that “just make it home safely baby” talk; I’m here to serve you.
To every parent facing a choice between putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their head; I’m here to serve you.
To every precious child in our failing foster system; I’m here to serve you, too.
To every teacher, every teacher doing the impossible to teach through this pandemic; I’m here to serve you.
To every student struggling to the finish line; finish, finish, finish. I’m here to serve you. To every differently abled person denied equal access; I’m here to serve you.
To every person living unhoused on the streets; I’m here to serve you.
To every family that’s lost loved ones to gun violence; I’m here to serve you.
To every person who’s lost a job, or a home, or healthcare, or hope; I’m here, right now, today, elected to serve you.
To the Black women. The Black girls. The nurses. The single mothers. The essential workers. This is our moment.Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush
It is the greatest honor of my life to accept the responsibility to serve every single person across Missouri’s First Congressional District, as your first-ever Black Congresswoman-elect. This is our movement, y’all.
So tonight, we, the people are victorious. We, we the people, are going to Congress. We are going to Congress together because we, the people have committed to a vision of America that works for all of us. An America that treats every person with respect. That recognizes healthcare as a human right. That believes every person deserves food to eat, a home to live in, and a dignified life. *Our America—not Trump’s America, our 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.
Everything I do begins with those who have the least, who’ve suffered the most, and who have the greatest potential to offer. Why? Because I myself have lived paycheck to paycheck. I struggled for years under the burden of student debt. I’ve been evicted by landlords. I’ve worried about how I was going to put food on the table for my two kids. I’ve been underinsured or uninsured. And for every one of those stories that I can tell about my own life, I know there are thousands more in our community. And those are the stories that I am carrying, that I am carrying, that I am carrying, oh, I am carrying with me… and will uplift in the People’s House as your Congresswoman.
So it is my job now to serve you—not just lead, not just demand, but serve you. This is a moment where things have shifted. Change has happened. So we gotta flow with that change. Now it’s time to move from that place of struggle, to a place of living, and a place of thriving, and so I’m speaking into St. Louis, I’m speaking into the people, I’m speaking into this district, I’m speaking into Missouri, I’m speaking into our country, that now is the time and we will live.
We will live, we will stand tall, we will rise up, we will do this work together. We won’t allow anyone to push us back and tell us we can’t have it, we’re not good enough. We will do this together, we’ve already started the work. You’ve done the work, you’ve stood tall, you’ve believed, and now we have what we asked for. So, we are about to change St. Louis. This is not about Cori, this is about what you did today, what you’ve done over the last few days.
You stood up and said this is who I want to represent. So I’m here, ready to serve you, but I’m serving you as you go with me. So it’s like I’m carrying you in my bag, taking you to committee, I’m carrying you in my bag, taking you to the floor, I’m carrying you in my bag, taking you to go vote, because that’s what this is for. So, St. Louis… if you know nothing else, you’ll know this: Your Congresswoman-elect, soon to be Congresswoman, loves you.
Your Congresswoman-elect loves you. And I need you to get that. Because if I love you, I care that you eat. If I love you, I care that you have shelter, and adequate, safe housing. If I love you, I care that you have clean water and clean air and you have a liveable wage. If I love you, I care that the police don’t murder you. If I love you, I care that you make it home safely. If I love you, I care that you are able to have a dignity and have a quality of life the same as the next person, the same as those that don’t look like you, that didn’t grow up the way you did, those that don’t have the same socioeconomic status as you, I care.
And so regardless of whatever was, this is our moment and this is our time and that’s how it will be. So when you walk away from here, you walk with your chest poked out that change has come to this district and it’s come by way of first—we are going to love and respect and honor one another to change the face of this district and become who we know we can be to have a safe, loving, welcoming, and thriving community.
If I love you, I care that you have shelter, and adequate, safe housing. If I love you, I care that you have clean water and clean air and you have a liveable wage. If I love you, I care that the police don’t murder you. If I love you, I care that you make it home safely.Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush
This moment is brought to us by us—by our movement for social, racial and economic justice. 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, and with our fists in the air—ready to serve each other until every single one of us is free.