The former House Speaker is cutting a wide swath in Washington this Women’s History Month.
“Today, as we celebrate Women’s History Month, let us celebrate you and all women who with sweat and sacrifice have shaped this country we call home,” said First Lady Jill Biden last week at a White House reception for Women’s History Month.
“Let us draw strength from those who came before and share that strength, that sisterhood that surrounds us,” said the First Lady. “Let our voices be the chorus that calls the next generation forward, that kindles their courage and cheers them on to carve a path of their own.”
“We see the suffragists, the riveters, the marchers; the mothers and sisters and aunts and grandmothers and daughters — all the giants upon whose broad shoulders we stand,” Vice President Kamala Harris told the audience during her turn to speak. “For generations, women have continued to make incredible progress in the classroom, in the workplace, in the halls of government.”
“And we are all here evidence of that progress,” Vice President Harris said.
“We have leaders in the United States Congress who are here,” VP Harris continued. “Of course, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi among them.”
As the audience applauded the many achievements of the first, second, and only — so far — female Speaker of the House, Rep. Pelosi was as magnanimous as ever.
Nancy Pelosi may have left her second term as House Speaker behind, but there is every indication that her contributions to women’s history are far from finished.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, still elected to represent her San Francisco home district, is now, in her own words, “emancipated” from the trials of Speakership. As such, she has been busily collecting accolades and making new plans since leaving the gavel behind.
“The Los Angeles Times spent a day with Pelosi, D-Calif., and her team to see how the former House speaker is adjusting to life outside of leadership,” wrote Nolan D. McCaskill for the Los Angeles Times on March 22, 2023. “She began it with ice cream for breakfast and finished it church-style dancing to a performance of the Resistance Revival Chorus.”
“This is Pelosi in her newest chapter, living her best life without the stresses of having to steer congressional Democrats past political pitfalls and through policy quicksand,” gushed. “Her colleagues say she’s essentially a national congresswoman — a woman who represents a single district but has a platform that extends far beyond the borders of San Francisco.”
Arguably, that has been true of Pelosi during her entire tenure in Congress.
In 1987, Pelosi was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and she immediately became involved in the fight against AIDS. At the time, there was a great deal of stigma surrounding the disease, and many politicians were reluctant to speak out on the issue.
Pelosi was not one of them.
One of Pelosi’s earliest actions as a representative was to co-sponsor the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, which provides funding for HIV/AIDS treatment, research, and support services.
Throughout her career, Pelosi continued to be a strong advocate for AIDS patients. She fought for increased funding for research and treatment, as well as for policies that promote education and prevention. Pelosi has also been a vocal critic of discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS and has worked to ensure that they have access to healthcare and other essential services.
Pelosi’s advocacy for AIDS patients has helped to raise awareness about the disease and has led to significant improvements in treatment and care. Her work has been widely recognized, and she has received numerous awards and honors over the years for her contributions to the fight against AIDS.
“In 2007, she made history as the first woman Speaker, but that was just the beginning of the history she has made during her four terms,” said President Joe Biden in a statement on the occasion of Pelosi stepping down from the Speaker’s seat. “I know because I’ve seen her in action during my career as Senator, Vice President, and now as President.”
“With her leading the way, you never worry about whether a bill will pass,” wrote Biden reminiscently. “If she says she has the votes, she has the votes. Every time.”
“I know, and people say, well, ‘she’s a great vote counter,’” said Senator Chris Dodd on the occasion of Pelosi’s receipt of the JFK Profile in Courage Award in 2019. “Well, that’s true. But there’s no — it’s not like some secret formula.”
“First of all, she knows her membership,” explained Dodd of his longtime friend and colleague. “She knows them very well. She knows their families. She knows their districts. She knows what they care about. She knows what they believe in.”
“She brings people up,” Dodd said of Pelosi’s leadership style. “She raises them up to understand the moment that they’re in.”
These days, Pelosi has turned these considerable skills, together with her famous work ethic and boundless energy attention to even more acts of advocacy. She spends her time devoted to causes from saving the planet to women’s rights.
“Ten years ago, the world’s Catholics welcomed a new pope: His Holiness Pope Francis,” wrote Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi in an op-ed for the National Catholic Reporter on March 15, 2023.
“Pope Francis has challenged us to be good stewards of God’s creation and to be a champion of the poor, the worker, the refugee and the immigrant,” Pelosi wrote. “Pope Francis’ commitment to uplifting the least of these shone through during his historic speech to Congress in 2015.”
“In that speech, he addressed a consequential legacy of the Francis stewardship, with his relentless and outspoken voice to save the planet,” Ms. Pelosi recalled poignantly.
“Writing with crystal clear clarity and urgency, he called on all of us — governments, industries and individuals — to honor our shared responsibility to care for our common home,” Pelosi reminded readers of the popular Catholic publication.
Besides extolling her fellow Catholics to save the planet, Pelosi is soon to be honored at the San Francisco Community Health Center's (SFCHC) annual Show of Hope 36th Anniversary Gala on April 29.
“Our community is grateful to the SFCHC for its transformative mission, ensuring that San Franciscans have access to quality health care services,” said Pelosi of the upcoming event. “As we celebrate SFCHC's many accomplishments, let us renew our pledge to continue caring for our most vulnerable families with dignity, justice, and respect for all.”
Like the crusading political career of Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco Community Health Center was initially founded in 1987 to assist sufferers of the AID epidemic in marginalized San Francisco communities.
And so, Nancy Pelosi is finishing her career exactly as she began it: In San Francisco, fighting shoulder to shoulder with other activists and peace workers to improve the lives of people in vulnerable communities.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)