For Immediate Release: October 22, 2023
President Debbie Deland, Florida NOW
Just before the world was stunned by the onset of the barbaric atrocities of the Israeli-Hamas war and the ongoing horror in Ukraine, our domestic airwaves were choked by seemingly endless news cycles covering the former President and his 91 felony counts. Yet, on September 28 we lost a strong voice for women – the passing of Senator Diane Feinstein.
To complete Senator Feinstein’s term, from a field of accomplished candidates CA Governor Gavin Newsom selected Laphonza Butler, a rising star to broaden the base of feminists who seek equality, equity, and justice for all women, for all people.
Commissioner René Flowers reported, “On Tuesday, October 3, 2023, Vice President Kamala Harris (the second Black woman to serve in the United States Senate) swore in the third Black female senator, Senator Laphonza Butler. Senator Butler will join the ranks of former Senator Carol Mosely Braun, who was the first Black woman to serve in the United States Senate from 1993-1999.
“Prior to her appointment, Senator Butler was already a strong voice on the political scene on issues that affect women, particularly women of color. She is well known inside California’s Democratic Party apparatus and has worked closely with Governor Newsom’s administration. She also served as a senior adviser to Harris’ 2020 presidential campaign and as the head of Emily’s List, an organization focused on fighting for issues that directly impact women of all ages, races, religions, and sexualities. This leads me to announce another milestone; Senator Butler will be the first openly gay woman to serve in the Senate.
“Much like her predecessors, Senator Butler hails from a working-class family. Her mother held several jobs just to make ends meet after the passing of Mr. Butler when Senator Butler was only 16. Why is this important? It is important because once again, her story totally dispels the myth that African Americans (Black people) do not take advantage of the opportunities provided. Her story dispels the myth yet again that Black women are lazy, having babies out of wedlock, and are welfare seekers. On the contrary, Senator Butler has demonstrated that Black women utilize obstacles as a stepping stone to greatness!
“As the first Black woman to serve on the Pinellas County Commission and the first Black woman in line to become the President of the Florida Association of Counties, heavy is the head that wears the crown indeed. However, those who wear the crown of “firsts” strive for the day when it’s not about being first, but it’s about being an American!”
FLORIDA NOW REACTS:
Debbie Deland, President of the Florida National Organization for Women, comments, “We are proud to have Pinellas County Commissioner René Flowers representing Florida NOW’s commitment to racial justice. We highly value her perspective in our pursuit of equal rights for all women. Given the current and dangerous attacks on actual and factual U.S. history coupled with the sins of omission taking place in Florida, Commissioner Flowers is boldly and correctly setting the record straight by honoring three Black women who have and are today contributing to better our political structure and to save our democracy.’
: is an intersectional grassroots organization that promotes feminist ideals, leads societal change, eliminates discrimination, and protects the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life. It is the largest civil rights organization in the country demanding women’s rights.