[Interviewer] Okay, ready?
[Pressley] I’m ready.
[Interviewer] So, you talk a lot about your mom. The role she played in your life. Tell us who she was and what she meant to you.
[Pressley] Everything. Absolutely everything. My mother was, and is, my shero. She sacrificed so much, to ensure that I would never be denied any opportunity in life. My father, for many years, was in the throes of addiction. He was in and out of prison and our lives. I’m a survivor of a decade of childhood sexual abuse and also campus sexual assault.
I grew up in a household where you robbed Peter to pay Paul. We were often met with eviction notices. But my mother made sure even amidst all of that that I was never cynical about government. I mean I can remember being as young as five, walking into that voting booth and just the moment where she would pull that curtain – and just feeling powerful. Working for Congressman Kennedy and Senator Carey, what was crystalized for me was at the core for all things politic, is relationship. That’s how you get this work done.
[Community Member 1] Before she was on the city council, there was no body that looked like her on the city council and now, it’s full of women of all different colors.
[Community Member 2] One of the first things she did was found a committee on healthy women, families, and communities. And, it’s amazing that Boston never had such a thing before.
[Community Member 3] Ayanna’s so special because she’s so accessible to people and she had this ability to transcend all different types of cultures.
[Community Member 4] She fights for the underdog. She gives a voice to those who typically don’t have one.
[Community Member 2] I grew up working class, I think she speaks to a wide population.
[Community Member 3] [In Spanish, translated in provided captioning] Ayanna understands the Latino Community and understand all that we are going through.
[Community Member 4] She speaks for everyone. Which is hard to say about most politicians.
[Pressley] Every electoral legislative victory that I’ve had is because I actively listened and worked with the community to achieve those things.
[Community Member 5] Ayanna made it so that folks who wanted to open a restaurant in Roxbury, that they could be able to get liquor licenses.
[Pressley] You had neighborhoods like Roxbury, Mattapan, Dorchester – that hadn’t seen new restaurants in 10, 15, 20 years. And we changed that.
[Community Member 5] You have a bar or restaurant that your windows open up the same way they do in the Sea Port. And folks can enjoy the fresh air.
It’s really been a blessing.
[Pressley] It brought more housing. Its wealth building and perpetuity.
Being an ally is easy – you sign the right letters, you show up at the rallies, you say the right things. But these times require and demand more than being an ally. They demand intentional advocacy. Our democracy is being dismantled every day. Our civil rights. Our very humanity – it seems at times, that we’re in a deficit in empathy.
[Community Member 2] I’ve been disappointed by some of the old god democratic party that have not been excited about Ayanna. But then again they disappointed me when they weren’t excited about Deval Patrick or Maura Healey. When you have a change maker like Ayanna, it shakes the old boy party to its core. And it needs to be shaken up, now more than ever.
[Pressley’s step-daughter] Like the same thing as you.
[Pressley] Let me see.
My mother didn’t raise me, and I’m not raising my 9 year old step daughter, to ask permission to lead. I’m going to right for issues like gun violence prevention; the rights, the safety, and the wellness of women and girls; of comprehensive criminal justice reform; of real immigration reform.
I’m running for congress to do what I’ve already been doing – and that is to fight for families that are struggling. This is more than a campaign. This is a movement, and it’s one we’re going to build together.
Pressley, A. [Ayanna Pressley]. (2018, February 21) Ayanna Pressley for Congress - Campaign Launch Video [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLiJIIZ1WqI]. Retrieved on February 9, 2022 from https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFtjr4S5tz4zqZT5cfenkIA.