The first black woman in 30 years spoke for a US president in a briefing room


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White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during a White House press briefing on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

White House Deputy Senior Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made history today at her first press conference. Jean-Pierre is the first openly gay spokesperson to address the press from the White House podium. She is also the first black woman in three decades to speak for the president in the James S. Brady briefing room.

Only one other black woman spoke on behalf of the president for a daily briefing. Judy Smith, George HW Bush’s deputy press secretary, landed her place in history as a premiere in 1991.

A public affairs expert

Jean-Pierre took a moment to thank President Joe Biden at the start of the briefing; declaring: “clearly, the president thinks representation is important”. Jean-Pierre was part of the senior all-female White House communications team announced earlier this year.

Jean-Pierre has been a leading public affairs voice in the nonprofit and political worlds for years, previously in the Obama administration as regional political director in the White House Bureau of Political Affairs. Often presented as a political analyst for NBC and MSNBC, Jean-Pierre has established herself as an expert in public affairs and political engagement.

Prior to joining the Biden-Harris administration, Jean-Pierre was Senior Advisor on the Biden Campaign, Director of Public Affairs at MoveOn.org, former Senior Lecturer at the School of International and Public Affairs at the University of Colombia , chief of staff to the vice-president at the time. elect Kamala Harris, and a range of senior roles on Obama and Martin O’Malley’s presidential campaigns.

A daughter of Haitian immigrants

The Haitian-American pioneer is also the acclaimed author of Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard Work, and America’s Promise. In Moving Forward, Jean-Pierre shares his journey of evolving political engagement and advice for future and current politicians. She also shares her experience as the daughter of Haitian immigrants living on the East Coast.

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and civil rights activist Stacey Abrams recommended the book, saying that “John’s advice resonates beyond differences with only one necessary command: to move forward. With Karine’s book as a guide, we absolutely can.

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Kevin E. Boling

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