“She is one of the few representatives who gets re-elected with over 70 percent of the vote in her community,” said Rick L. Callender, ESQ, president of the NAACP California-Hawaii State Conference in his introduction at the June 25 event. “Congresswoman Waters made history as the first woman and first African-American chair of the powerful House Financial Services Committee.
A member and past chair of the congressional Black Caucus, Waters was born in St. Louis, Mo. as the fifth of 13 children. She began working there at the age of 12 and after moving to LA, Waters worked in garment factories and the telephone company.
After matriculating from CSULA, Waters worked as a teacher and volunteer coordinator in the Head Start program and married former ambassador to the Bahamas Sydney Williams ? mother of two adult children.
Waters was humbled by the induction ceremony.
“Let me tell you, I’m not only honored that I’ve been chosen for this magnificent award, but I’m a tell you that it strengthens me in the work that I do, to be honored in this fashion,” she said, noting that she has traveled around the world and had been recognized for her work before. “But there’s nothing like being recognized by the NAACP.”
In her remarks, the congresswoman touched on several topics, including the covid pandemic, inflation, domestic terrorism and the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 Attack on the Capitol. On the latter topic, Waters told the audience that they should be amazed and frightened at what they are learning.
“When I tell you our democracy is at stake,” she said. “When you see how the 45th President of the United States of America undermined our rights, disrespected the constitution and tried to make the Department of Justice do his bidding, you ought to then understand how close we came to this ex-president, Trump, stealing the election from the American people.”
Waters stressed the importance of everyone to participate in the democracy and not wait for someone else to solve problems.
“Each individual has something that they could do, ways that they can serve,” she said, encouraging the audience to get more people to vote at work, at church and in their social groups.
She noted that a number of Black forbearers worked hard in creating this country.
“We’ve made America a better place,” she said. “Let’s not forget from whence we come and who we are.”
Waters also mentioned last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling against abortion, noting that in her comments to media that day she said that we don’t care what that body had done, because she is going to fight against it.
“If we are to continue to pursue justice in this country, we’re going to have to fight for it,” she said. “It doesn’t come easy, but don’t expect somebody else to do it.”