The impeachment trial may be over, but Rep. Stacey Plaskett deserves our praise
OPINION: Plaskett made history this past week by being the first US delegate to ever serve as an impeachment manager. And serve she did.
She stood tall. She stood firm. She wore fashion fit for a couturier corporate board runway, and when she spoke she did so with authority, confidence and the weight of her sister forebears on her shoulders.
Virgin Islands Delegate Stacey Plaskett made history this past week by being the first U.S. delegate to ever serve as an impeachment manager. And serve she did. With all of the bluster of former President Donald Trump’s counsel, and all of the deceptions.
She could have focused on many things while presenting on behalf of the House managers. And she did. But her breakout moment is the moment where Black women everywhere stood up and cheered, tweeted “Go ‘head girl!” and ”say it girl!” while they made fist bumps in the air, and threw their shoes at the TV set:
“The defense counsel put a lot of videos out in their defense, playing clip after clip of Black women talking about fighting for a cause or an issue or a policy. It was not lost on me as so many of them were people of color, and women, Black women. Black women like myself who are sick and tired of being sick and tired for our children. Your children,” the congresswoman said.
This is what true representation means. A true seat at the table. A true voice. No white male House manager, or even a Hispanic or Jewish one, not even a well-meaning white woman ally could have clapped back with such class, and power at the same time. And with such confidence that even with the world watching, she was right to point out the not-so-subtle racism of Trump’s lawyers.
What this moment demonstrates is that when we let Black women lead they will always speak truth to power, they will always work with precision and get the job done. Considering the video montage she rightly criticized for depicting Black women and lawmakers of color as villains (in a futile attempt at “both sides” and ”What-about-ism”) and as advocates for violence and somehow disrespecting law and order, Plaskett proved that she is one of the amazing voices in this great republic that will help to make us a more perfect union.
As we are all still on a high that the second-highest ranking constitutional officer in the republic is a Black woman, to see one standing on the Senate floor, participating in a historic impeachment trial fighting for the very soul of our democracy was powerful.
The big takeaway from this Stacey Plaskett moment is that we had someone standing in the well of the U.S. Senate to call out damning lies, damaging stereotypes and racial tropes in real-time. A Senate that no longer has a Black woman in its number because that lone Black woman has become the nation’s vice president.
It was a sight to behold and a moment that went viral. We must give Black women the space to be our authentic selves and shine. The space to do what sister Iyanla Vanzant says, “call a thing a thing.”
As the impeachment trial ended, I found myself feeling two distinct emotions: One, I was sad for the nation that cowardly 43 Republican senators did not find the courage to convict Trump.
Secondly, although I was beaming with pride at the unbelievable brilliance of my former American University law school professor Jamin B. Raskin; I was bursting at the seams with pride for the lone Black female manager who initially had to ask Speaker Nancy Pelosi to include her on the impeachment House manager team, and who more than proved her value for all the world to see.
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