Meet Park Cannon, the 24-Year-Old Black, Queer Woman Elected to the Georgia House

Source: Facebook
Source: Facebook

From Amandla Stenberg's Teen Vogue takeover to Beyoncé's "Formation" and beyond, 2016 has already been a year dominated by #BlackGirlMagic. But this overdue representation is extending beyond the entertainment industry and crucially infiltrating realms of political power. 

After winning a runoff election on Tuesday for the Georgia State House's District 58, Park Cannon, 24, will become one of three openly queer women serving in the state's legislature, according to Colorlines

Read more: Amandla Stenberg Came Out as Bisexual While Taking Over Teen Vogue's Snapchat

Cannon was working as a women's wellness advocate for a women's health center when former Rep. Simone Bell, the first openly gay black woman to serve in a State House in the United States, encouraged Cannon to replace her, the Georgia Voice reported in December. Bell was particularly drawn to Cannon's background in reproductive rights because she believed it was "what's missing in the chamber and what's missing in the conversations, what's missing in a seat for someone who can actually vote," according to the same report.

Park Cannon
Source: 
Facebook

Cannon considers herself "a person who is carrying with me at all times genderqueer people, asexual people, transgender individuals," she told the Georgia Voice in December. 

"As a person who is outspoken about myself and outspoken about my truth, I hope to bring healing to people. I hope to bring excitement to our community who is marginalized and underrepresented," Cannon said in the same report.

This goal is particularly crucial given the myriad ways individuals who occupy these identities are still marginalized in the United States. For example, black women earn an average of 64 cents to every white man's dollar, according to a Catalyst report, and a 2014 Gallup poll demonstrated that queer women disproportionately lag behind straight women and gay men in terms of overall well-being, according to the Atlantic.

Source: Facebook

Beyond her own state, Cannon offers hope in the context of a largely heterosexual, white, male-dominated national political landscape. Of the 104 female members of the 114th U.S. Congress, only 33 are women of color, according to Catalyst, and there are less than 500 openly gay elected officials currently serving in political office across the entire United States, according to a Time report in December.

Cannon's win is just the beginning.

"Last night was a good night," the newly-elected official stated on her Facebook page on Wednesday. "Now the real work begins."

h/t Colorlines

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Julie Zeilinger

Julie Zeilinger is a staff writer at Mic as well as the founder and editor of The FBomb (thefbomb.org), a feminist blog partnered with the Women’s Media Center. She is also the author of "A Little F’d Up: Why Feminism Is Not A Dirty Word" and "College 101: A Girl’s Guide to Freshman Year."

MORE FROM

Dow Jones won’t talk about its reported pay gap problem

A study released by the union representing Dow Jones employees found evidence of a "significant pay gap between men and women" who had the same job title and level of experience.

Mom slams ACA repeal, shows what's at stake in a tweetstorm about son's health

This mom says that without the ACA, her son wouldn't get the medical care he desperately needs.

Theresa May announces pact with Northern Ireland's conservative DUP

10 of the DUP's MPs will vote alongside May's party in exchange for more than $1 billion of funds.

Supreme Court will hear case of baker who refused service to gay couples on religious grounds

The Supreme Court will take on the case of a bakery owner who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Health care opposition, Trump on Russian meddling & Pakistan tanker explosion

The important stories to get you caught up for Monday morning.

Dozens missing after tourist boat carrying more than 160 passengers sinks in Colombia

At least six people are confirmed dead and dozens more unaccounted for.

Dow Jones won’t talk about its reported pay gap problem

A study released by the union representing Dow Jones employees found evidence of a "significant pay gap between men and women" who had the same job title and level of experience.

Mom slams ACA repeal, shows what's at stake in a tweetstorm about son's health

This mom says that without the ACA, her son wouldn't get the medical care he desperately needs.

Theresa May announces pact with Northern Ireland's conservative DUP

10 of the DUP's MPs will vote alongside May's party in exchange for more than $1 billion of funds.

Supreme Court will hear case of baker who refused service to gay couples on religious grounds

The Supreme Court will take on the case of a bakery owner who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Health care opposition, Trump on Russian meddling & Pakistan tanker explosion

The important stories to get you caught up for Monday morning.

Dozens missing after tourist boat carrying more than 160 passengers sinks in Colombia

At least six people are confirmed dead and dozens more unaccounted for.