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Councilwoman Uses Folding Chair to Powerfully Declare Her ‘Seat at the Table’

Cincinnati Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard holds a folding chair as she is sworn in to the Cincinnati city council.
Tamaya Dennard/Twitter

The late Shirley Chisholm once said: “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

Newly elected Cincinnati councilwoman Tamaya Dennard sure knows how to manifest the words of legends. During her swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday, Dennard held up her right hand as she promised to serve her community while her left hand firmly gripped none other than a crimson folding chair.

Ohio Democratic Chair David Pepper captured the symbolic tribute to the first Black female Congresswoman and posted it to Twitter on Tuesday.

The tweet was shared over 5,000 times. In her first speech of her new role, Dennard made the ceremony all the more poignant when she briefly circled back to Chisholm.

“I am Shirley Chisholm. I am Barbara Jordan. I am Sandra Bland, and I am Marian Spencer,” she said.

The newly elected councilwoman then laid out her game-plan for her time in office.

“I’m here to work on issues at the root cause, and not Band Aid solutions,” she said on Tuesday. “Yeah, we can open more shelters, but we need affordable housing. We need income-based housing. That’s the issue.”

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