NY AG Letitia James is guided by the principle of simple justice for all
Letitia James is the first African American and woman to be elected as attorney general in New York
Our Black Women Amplified series highlights the accomplishments of ten Black women who are creating their own history with their unique contributions to the world whether it be through media, arts, science or politics. We salute their accomplishments and are inspired by their example. Below is more on our tenth honoree, New York Attorney General Letitia James
New York Attorney General Letitia James is an embodiment of her desire to see more Black women claiming their power in the halls of government and industry.
James enshrined herself in history when she was accomplished dual firsts after being elected as attorney general of New York in 2018. She is the first African American and woman to hold the office.
James’ commitment is fighting on behalf of all New Yorkers in their pursuit of justice.
“I’m guided by the basic principle of simple justice, simple justice and equal opportunity for all of our people,” Letitia James tells theGrio.
The born and bred Brooklyn native acknowledges much progress has been made toward bending the arc of justice to create a more equitable society for all. However, there is still much work to be done.
“Never before in the history of this nation have more Black women claimed their power in the halls of government and in the halls of industry. We are all making our mark and we are moving this world forward. But we all know that we are far from equal and we have a long way to go.”
Long before James was elected the 67th AG for New York, her credentials in service of the community were burnished through her decade’s long advocacy. James was elected as public advocate in New York in 2013 and used that position to fight for the most vulnerable in the city.
Some of those forces for change included banning questions about one’s employment history which helped to address the gender wage gap. James also took on the gun industry by encouraging the largest pensions in New York to divest from gun and ammunition retailers. There were also 32,000 complaints from the constituents of New York that was handled by her office.
These innovative strides led to her being re-elected as the New York public advocate in 2017 and helped lay the foundation of her current role. Letitia James has been a woman of action.
She sued the NYPD over their response to the George Floyd protests and their alleged misconduct. AG James is also set on rolling back initiatives put in place by former President Donald Trump and his family in addition to leading an investigation into their finances. She also took on the NRA and is trying to dissolve the organization and is taking charge of the case into the sexual harassment accusations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
James cited another trailblazer, Shirley Chisholm — the first Black woman elected to Congress and the first Black woman to seek the office of the presidency from one of the major parties — as a guide on how others can also continue to shake up the status quo.
“In the words of the great Shirley Chisholm, a fearless fighter in the first Black woman to be elected to Congress. If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair,” she says.
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