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Search The Fig Tree's stories of people who make a difference:

Rep. Maxine Waters is NAACP banquet speaker

Human rights advocate and California Congresswoman Maxine Waters is the featured speaker for the Spokane NAACP’s 97th Freedom Fund Banquet beginning at 6 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 12, at Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights.

Maxine, who has a reputation as a fearless, outspoken advocate for women, children, people of color and the poor, will speak on “Our Lives Matter–Our Votes Count.”

Elected in November 2014 to her 13th term in the U.S. House of Representatives with more than 70 percent of the vote in diverse South Central Los Angeles, she is on the House Committee on Financial Services and the Steering and Police Committee of the Congressional Democratic Leadership, as well as the Congressional Professional Caucus and Congressional Black Caucus. 

Through her 37 years of public service, Maxine has tackled difficult issues, combining her legislative acumen with grassroots organizing. 

Before her election in 1990, she served 14 years in the California State Assembly, rising to be the Democratic Caucus chair. 

Maxine helped promote divestment of state pension funds from South Africa, affirmative action legislation, a state Child Abuse Prevention Training Program and prohibiting police strip searches for nonviolent misdemeanors. 

She has served on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) since 1980 and was a leader in five presidential campaigns:  Sen. Edward Kennedy in 1980, the Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988, and President Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. 

After the Los Angeles civil unrest in 1992, Maxine interpreted to media and the public the despair in cities across America.  

She co-founded the Black Women’s Forum, a nonprofit of more than 1,200 African-American women in the Los Angeles area. 

She addresses issues such as poverty, economic development and equal justice.

Throughout her career, she has advocated peace, justice and human rights in South Africa, Haiti, Africa and Latin America, related to apartheid, political prisoners and canceling the debt of poor nations. 

She is a founding member and former chair of the “Out of Iraq” Congressional Caucus.  Expanding access to health care is another of her priorities, including HIV/AIDS among minorities. 

She has led congressional efforts to mitigate foreclosures and keep families in their homes during housing and economic crises.

Maxine was born in St. Louis, Mo., the fifth of 13 children of a single mother. She began working at age 13 in factories and segregated restaurants.  After moving to Los Angeles, she worked in garment factories and at the telephone company.

She attended California State University at Los Angeles, where she earned a bachelor’s degree and began her career in public service as a teacher and a volunteer coordinator in the Head Start Program.

She is married to Sidney Williams, former U.S. ambassador to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. 

For information, call 209-2425.



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