Rep. Maxine Waters delivered a mic-dropping speech at the Black Girls Rock! award show on Tuesday night, thanking her supporters and sternly reminding her critics that she is a strong black woman who will not be intimidated.
Waters, who was recognized as the honoree for the show’s social humanitarian award, began her speech by underscoring the importance of safe spaces like Black Girls Rock!, which celebrates the beauty and magic of black sisterhood, and reiterated why representation matters.
“For much too long, black girls have not reached their full potential ― but now things are changing,” she said, going on to credit women including TV mastermind Shonda Rhimes, director Ava Duvernay, and astronaut Mae Jamieson for inspiring countless women. “All of these fabulous women who are inspiring so many young girls and showing them that they too can be successful, they are certainly examples of what is possible,” she said.
Waters then expressed gratitude towards the black women who have showered her with support in her efforts to call out President Donald Trump and his wrongdoings.
In recent months, Waters has consistently called for Trump’s impeachment, citing his temperament, lack of experience and embrace of racism as reasons why he is unfit to lead. This has made her a target for attacks from right-wing politicians and white supremacist supporters.
However, countless women of color have rallied around Waters, including activist Brittany Packnett, who started the viral #BlackWomenAtWork hashtag in March to call out the disrespectful ways public figures, like former Fox News employee Bill O’Reilly, have treated Waters.
“I know that if it was not for the love and respect shown to me by black women, those right wing, ultra conservative, alt-right haters would have me believe I’m too black, I’m too confrontational, I’m too tough and I’m too disrespectful to them but I know I am simply a strong black woman,” Waters said.
“We have power, we have influence, we can do things that others have told us we can’t do,” she added, before sending a stern warning to critics. “If you come for me, I’m coming for you.”
Waters, who said she is grateful for the millennials who have openly embraced and supported her take on Trump, didn’t leave the stage without reminding the audience of the power of speaking out and taking action.
“Whether it’s the president of the United States of America or any of his cabinet members, we will say to them, ‘we will resist you,’” she said. “We will not allow you to damage this country in the way you’re doing.”
“We will not allow you to take us backwards,” she added. “Not only will we resist you, we will impeach you!”