For Americans among minority and immigrant communities, equal representation in American governance remains an urgent goal. So much still needs to be done, but many Caribbean-American women in politics are proudly leading the way, providing hope for the future. In honor of March as Women’s History Month, we’ve highlighting a few inspiring Caribbean-American women leading in way in United States politics. From the recent iconic election of Vice President Kamala Harris, to Karine Jean Pierre’s efforts in the Biden administration, and Jennifer Carroll’s success as former Lieutenant Governor of Florida, all of these women are a part of the political leadership dedicated to changing our world for the better.
Kamala Harris: First woman VP of the U.S.
After years of public service and political achievements, Kamala Harris was elected Vice President of the United States in 2020 under the Biden Administration. Harris was born on October 20, 1964 in Oakland, California. Her father Donald Harris, a former professor at Stanford University, is Jamaican. Her mother Shyamala Gopalan was a research biologist originally from India. After studying political science and economics at Howard University, she then went onto earning her law degree from Hastings College.
Harris is currently the highest ranking female elected official in U.S. history. She is also the first woman, African-American, and Asian American to become Vice President as the 49th Vice President of the United States. Before becoming VP, she previously served as a Senator in the U.S. Senate, the first Indian-American and the second Black woman to do so. She also previously held the position as the first female and African-American attorney general of California.
Karine Jean Pierre: Chief of Staff
Karine Jean Pierre, a Caribbean national, was born August 13, 1977 in Martinique to Haitian immigrant parents. She was raised in Queens, New York and graduated from the New York Institute of Technology. She would regularly watch Haitian documentaries to further explore her roots and ancestry. Under the Biden Administration, Pierre was selected to be the Chief of Staff to Senator Kamala Harris, becoming the first Black person in history to serve for a U.S. Vice President in that role.
Her years of experience with presidential campaigns, politics, and activism made her a perfect candidate for this role, such as her position as Deputy Battleground States’ Director for former U.S. president Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. In addition, she is also a Chief Public Affairs Officer for MoveOn.org, a progressive public policy group, and as a political analyst for NBC and MSNBC. In 2018, the Haitian Times named her one of six “Haitian Newsmakers Of The Year.” She also wrote an autobiography book called Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard work, and the Promise of America, that was published in 2019.
Jennifer Carroll: First female Lieutenant Governor of Florida
Jennifer Carroll is a republican politician who was the first black female and Trinidadian-American elected to statewide office in Florida. She is also regarded as the first Black person ever to be elected to statewide office in Florida after the American Civil War. Carroll was born August 27, 1959 in Trinidad and Tobago, moving to the U.S. at the young age of 8. Jennifer Carroll served as the 18th Lieutenant Governor of Florida from 2011 to 2013 under Governor Rick Scott. Before this role, Carroll served as a Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives. Later in her career, after working on the 2016 presidential campaign for Donald Trump, she was appointed as a commissioner on the American Battle Monuments Commission and has served there since 2018.
Susan Rice is an American diplomat, policy advisor, and public official. She has recently taken on the role of director of the United States Domestic Policy Council in 2021 under the Biden Administration. She was born on November 17, 1964, in Washington DC. Her maternal grandparents were Jamaican immigrants. She attended Stanford and Oxford, where she earned her PhD and was a Rhodes Scholar. Rice also served as the 27th US Ambassador to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013. and as the U.S. National Security Advisor from 2013 to 2017.