This piece was part of the Ánimo Voices Competition, which invited students to write about innovators, upstanders, visionaries, or rebels that have made a difference in their local or broader communities. The competition was an opportunity to motivate, recognize, and celebrate our strong student voices through writing and art.
by Lauren Kirkwood, 8th grader, Ánimo Western Charter Middle School
Congresswoman Maxine Waters is considered by many people to be one of the most influential women in American politics. Waters has attained notoriety as a brave and outspoken opponent for women, children, people of color, and the less fortunate.
Maxine Waters was born in St. Louis, Missouri on August 15th, 1938.She is the fifth child of 13 children all raised by a single mother. She began working at a young age which was 13. She worked in factories and in segregated restaurants. Waters attended California State University Los Angeles where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She began a career in public service as a teacher and also a volunteer coordinator in the Head Start program.
Waters is the co-founder of Black Women’s Forum, a nonprofit organization of over 1,200 African American women in Los Angeles. In the mid-1980s, she established Project Build, dealing with adolescents in Los Angeles housing developments on job training and placement. In 1991 she became a congresswoman and was elected to her 14th term in the United States House of Representatives in November 2016.
Maxine Waters challenges issues such as poverty, supporting economic development, social justice, and other issues concerning people of color, women, children, and the poor. She has used her amazing abilities to shape public policy and distribute wealth and resources. Waters is the founder and former chair of the Out of Iraq Caucus which is a congressional caucus in the United States
House of Representatives created in June 2005. It consists of House members who advocate the departure of United States troops from Iraq, finally putting an end to U.S. participation in the Iraq War. Maxine Waters founded a school called Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center. She created this school to provide a high quality educational curriculum to support students from multifarious age groups and cultural backgrounds so that they can develop the necessary skills and confidence they will need to succeed in life.
Maxine Waters represents parts of South Central Los Angeles including Lennox, West Athens, West Carson, Harbor Gateway, and El Camino Village. She has been in employment for 37 years tackling different and often controversial issues.
Seven years ago, my own grandmother and the tenants living in her apartment building were having many problems including bed bugs, rent not being paid, and people who had been living in the apartment building the longest had not had their houses remodeled. The building was government subsidized. The people in charge of the building were not doing their jobs, so to resolve this issue my grandmother and other tenants in her apartment building called for a meeting. Maxine Waters came in on her recess period to help on the things that were bothering them that the government would not fix. Waters helped my grandmother be able to pay for her rent and reduced it by $80, and got a company to clean up the bed bugs.
Today, Maxine Waters is married to Sidney Williams the former U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas. She is a mother of two adult children, Edward, and Karen. She is the grandmother of two grandchildren.
Maxine Waters has left an inconceivable impact on our community. She has abetted many people including people of color, women, children, and the impecunious. She was born in an extremely prejudiced time where no one thought that an African American woman could make it big. Maxine Waters broke down those stereotypical thoughts and is now serving her 14th term in the U.S. House of Representatives being the eldest of the 12 African American women. As Maxine Waters said, “You cannot be successful and continue to be a victim.”