If you didn’t know who Congresswoman Frederica Wilson was before this week, you are not alone.
But since she called out President Trump for telling Army Sgt. La David Johnson‘s widow, Myeshia Johnson, “[he]knew what he signed up for,” she’s been catapulted into the national spotlight. But who is Wilson really?
Here are five facts you should know!
She’s Been An Elective Official For Almost 20 Years: While the Democrat currently represents Florida’s 24th District, (northwest Miami-Dade and southern Broward counties) the 74-year-old has been in the game for a minute. According to CNN, Wilson was first elected as a Florida state representative in 1998 and became a state senator in 2002 before being elected to the House of Representatives in 2011.
She’s Never Been Afraid To Stand Up To Trump: While on Wednesday she had very public words for #45 calling him “crazy” and accusing him of having a “brain disorder,” this is not the first time she stood up to the reality star turned President. Back in January, she was one of nearly 70 members of Congress who refused to attend that his inauguration.
In addition, back in May after the Washington Post reported that Trump shared classified info with Russia, Wilson stressed: “I believe that the President is desperate for attention and needs psychological help.”
Clearly she is not holding her tongue for anybody!
Here she is speaking a word on CNN this week:
She’s Been Very Vocal About The #BringBackOurGirls Effort: Since the Boko Haram kidnapped over 215 Nigerian girls back in 2014, Wilson had been at the forefront of the U.S. effort to help bring the young women back to their homes. Wilson, along with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, traveled to Nigeria together in 2016 to meet with grieving families and advocates to help spread awareness and lead a bipartisan effort here in the States.
In a 2016 op-ed for the Sun Sentinel, Wilson wrote: “As a mother, my heart aches when I consider the devastating effect the abduction has had on the girls and their families. After two trips to Nigeria, where I met with Chibok families and government officials, I have tried to use my voice and every legislative resource available to raise awareness of the abduction and to build support for the girls and efforts to eradicate Boko Haram.”
She LOVES Her Cowboy Hats: If there’s one thing you can’t help but to notice about Wilson is that she’s a pretty big fan of cowboy hats! But she doesn’t rock the typical ones: Only the bedazzled and jazzier ones that reflect her unique and outgoing personality.
Take a look at a few of them:
Before She Was A Politician, She Was A School Principal: As the Miami-New Times noted, Wilson was a principal of Skyway Elementary, a mostly black school in North Dade before she became an elected official. Being a well-loved ‘larger than life character,” she taught her students about the power of protest.
As Chuck Strose wrote: “When Agripost, a recycling plant, moved next door to the school, Wilson didn’t take it lying down. She decided to teach her students something about politics. So she marched them in front of the commission day after day. They complained of breathing problems. They said in their tiny voices that it was difficult to concentrate at a school where hallways smelled like garbage.
There were at least a half-dozen meetings regarding Agripost. Wilson took about 50 students to each and every one. She spoke sometimes but mostly left the talking to the kids. Most were so small they had to stand on crates to see over the podium.
The owners of the plant said it didn’t smell and expected commissioners to believe them. In the end, the students — and their principal — prevailed. Commissioners closed Agripost, and the company sued, claiming it had been wronged. It lost that lawsuit.”
She Was Extremely Vocal About Trayvon Martin’s Death: Wilson has always been clear that #BlackLivesMatter!
She was a crucial voice in Florida when Trayvon Martin was killed in 2012. Apparently, he was one of her constituents and she’s known his family for most of her life. According to Reuters, the Congresswoman did not shy away from declaring that Martin was the victim of a “botched police investigation” and racial profiling, suggesting that the teenager was unfairly “hunted” by Zimmerman simply because he was Black.
Outside of Trayvon, she has used her platform to organize rallies throughout Miami calling for an end of the killing of other young Black men.
Thank you for your service Congresswoman Wilson and keep fighting the good fight!