Cori Bush was active in protests after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Bush is a mother, pastor and nurse, all a far cry from where she was several years ago. In 2001, Bush became ill while pregnant with her second child. She was forced to quit her job and along with her two children and then-husband, was eventually evicted from her home. For several months her family lived out of her car but very soon, the world will call her, “The Honorable Cori Bush.”
Bush defeated longtime Congressman William Lacy Clay with 49% of the vote, compared to his 46%. Clay has held the seat for some 20 years and in fact, either he or his father have represented Missouri’s 1st congressional district since the 1960’s. Bush’s win was an upset, to say the least. Bush joins a number of other Black women who’ve won high profile campaigns, after the death of George Floyd. The winds of protest are certainly changing the face of American politics but that alone cannot explain the outcome of this particular race. Bush is very involved in the St. Louis community and has received numerous honors, including the 2015 Women of Courage Award from the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation. She previously challenged Clay unsuccessfully in 2018 but this time around, prevailed.
No matter your personal politics, Bush is certainly an inspiration. Her political and personal climb demonstrate the power of will and purpose. She walked the depths of homelessness but even so, her connection to suffering pushed her to advocate for Black lives rather than sit in pity. That advocacy and sense of purpose has led her to the halls of Congress. Her journey echoes that of the late John Lewis, who began his journey to Congress engaging in street protests, notably in Selma where he was brutally attacked by police. Time will tell whether Bush’s impact on Congress and world history rivals that of John Lewis but for now, the Democratic primary winner is focused on preparing to serve the people of the 1st district of Missouri.