Congressman Hakeem Jeffries: History in the Making

Share this page:

“Together...We Can Make HIV Black History!”

C. Virginia Fields

President and CEO of Black Health

Hakeem Jeffries and Ms Fields together

Congratulations! In a unanimous vote, on January 3, 2023, Congressman Jeffries was elected as the House Democratic Leader. It is a historic win, one that makes Hakeem the first Black party leader in either the House or the Senate.

Congressman Jeffries’ election ushers in a new generation of Democratic leaders. It allows him to continue to be the bridge he has cemented between the party’s old guard, and its outspoken, younger progressives. First serving the New York State Assembly 57th District, then lending that same vigor to Congress where he represents New York’s 8th congressional district. While serving his term, in recognition of his sharp-eyed, vital expertise, in 2019, he was appointed chair of the Democratic Caucus.

I have known Hakeem for a number of years. His capacity to bring unity and reduce divisions thanks to his long commitment to working with diverse communities, and care for all constituents, is a strong indication of what he brings to his role as Leader. His decision to offer Representative Nancy Pelosi the honor of “Speaker Emerita,” and to lead his colleagues towards a unanimous vote of approval for the proposed honor further reflects his character and his ability to take charge, and lead by example. He is not shaken by complexity or diversity, he embraces it, and leverages the strengths they bring to better policy, and greater advocacy for our most vulnerable citizens.

The Democratic Party’s unanimous decision to elect Hakeem, shows that all of his colleagues see his tenacity, a commitment to collaborative leadership, and policies that will improve the lives of the average Americans—no matter their constituency.

Importantly, while Hakeem has shown a strong commitment to unity, in his own words, the Democratic Party under his leadership will “push back against extremism whenever necessary.”

As an advocate for Black Health, and other groups whose health outcomes are disproportionately impacted by extremism and its more normalized biases in the healthcare system, I am excited to collaborate and work with House Leader Jeffries as he continues to build upon the foundations of justice and equity the Democratic Party has represented in these present times.

C. Virginia Fields
President and CEO

Other recent news: