While many Americans are still reeling from Hillary Clinton’s loss of the presidential election on Tuesday, there were many historic firsts for women in the country that deserve to be celebrated.
Elle is making a note of the the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate and the first Indian-American woman elected to the House of Representatives, among several other remarkable pioneering female candidates who have taken office in historic firsts around the nation.
Pramila Jayapal has become the first Indian-American woman elected to Congress. The Bernie Sanders supporter, who came to the United States at age 16, was elected to Seattle’s 7th Congressional District.
Jayapal is the founder of the advocacy group OneAmerica, a major advocacy organization for immigrants and refugees living in the U.S., according to Huffington Post. She has also helped more than 20,000 new Americans register to vote. In 2013, Jayapal was dubbed a White House “Champion of Change.”
“Pramila helped lead the fight for paid sick leave and a $15 minimum wage in Seattle,” Bernie Sanders wrote about Jayapal. “She’s not afraid to take on powerful special interests. She’s fought for immigrant rights, opposed the war in Iraq, and worked to protect Social Security.”
Jayapal has said she plans to continue to fight for these issues, as well as LGBTQ rights, women’s rights and environmental concerns.
Tammy Duckworth defeated incumbent Republican Senator Mark Kirk in Illinois. The 48-year-old veteran lost her legs in the Iraq war when the helicopter she was co-piloting shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by insurgents.
Her opponent faced an angry backlash during the campaign when he ridiculed Duckworth in a public debate after she said, “my family has served this nation in uniform going back to the Revolution.”
“I forgot your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington,” Kirk sniped. Duckworth’s mother is of Thai descent, but her father was a U.S. Marine who has traced his family history back to the American Revolution.
Kate Brown has become the first openly LGBT person to be elected governor, the Washington Blade reports. Brown has been serving as governor for a year already, after taking over when former Gov. John Kitzhaber resigned.
Brown is bisexual and a survivor of domestic violence. She has already been instrumental in passing legislation to protect women, children and the LGBT community in Oregon since taking office last year.
Ilhan Omar, was born in Somalia spent four years of her childhood in a Kenyan refugee camp, has been elected Minnesota State Representative for District 60B.
“This district has a legacy of making history,” the 34-year old Muslim the Star-Tribune.“I am excited for our progressive values and to be able to be on the ground at the Capitol representing the diverse people of my district and being a champion with them and for them.”
Kamala Harris, 52, has become the first black politician to represent California in the U.S. Senate and only the second black woman ever elected to the Senate. Harris is the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, Los Angeles Times reports.
Harris’s parents, who met at Berkeley, were active in the Civil Rights movement. “Mom was a scientist, and my father was a professor of economics,” Harris told NBC News. “We grew up always being told that you have a responsibility to serve.”
Her platform includes criminal justice and immigration reform, creating good-paying jobs, enacting family leave and equal pay policies, college affordability, universal pre-kindergarten for children and taking on climate change.
Catherine Cortez Masto became the first Latina ever elected to the U.S. Senate and the first female senator from Nevada. The 52-year old former attorney general of Nevada is the granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant, according to People.
The New York Times reports that she focused her campaign on immigration reform and future Supreme Court picks before the Senate. She defeated Representative Joe Heck to fill the seat of retiring Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic minority leader.
Her win is especially noteworthy because her opponent received substantial financial backing from outside interests such as the controversial Koch Brothers.
Of course, many other remarkable men and women were elected to office on Election Day, as well. They have their work cut out for them, but hopefully, they have a nation of supporters behind them to help them bring about even more positive change.
[Featured Image by Seth Perlman/AP Images]