D.C. City Council chairman and mayoral candidate Linda Cropp focused on black women’s progress in politics while speaking to her sorority members Friday at the Marvin Center.
Cropp, a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, attracted a crowd of about 30 people to the Marvin Center Amphitheatre. Most of the attendees were members of GW’s Mu Beta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, a sorority that has traditionally been made up of black women.
“As Deltas, we have been involved in politics for a long time,” Cropp said. She discussed specifically how the Deltas were involved in a women’s suffrage march in the District in 1913, the year of Delta Sigma Theta’s founding.
“We were marching not only as women but as African Americans, and since then our sisterhood as grown from 22 to over 200,000,” she said.
Cropp listed some important members of the sorority to emphasize her point. Shirley Chisolm, the first black woman to be elected to Congress, as well as the first to run for president on a major ticket, and Barbra Jordan, the first black woman to preside over a state senate, were among those mentioned.
“The shoulders upon which you stand are big shoulders,” she said. “When you’re confronted with pressure, learn from it.”
In keeping with the theme of black involvement in politics, Cropp noted the tremendous transformations that have occurred over the last 50 years.
“Colossal changes have catapulted blacks from the back of the bus into the driver’s seats,” she said. “We’ve watched our political muscle in Congress swell from two blacks in 1951 to 41 today.”
Cropp said that in the next 20 years, blacks will account for about 20 percent of the population, making political awareness important.
Cropp characterized politics as a series of negotiations eventually reaching a compromise, pointing out that politics occurs in all organizations, not just government. Cropp also said one’s longevity in government is typically determined by one’s effectiveness.
“Politics is a part of everyday life, as soon as two people enter a room, politics start,” she said.
Cropp added that networking is how sorority members can call on each other in the future to get things done.
Senior Jennifer Gore, the sorority’s second vice president, said reaching Cropp was easier than anticipated because a member of the sorority was taking a class with Cropp’s husband, public policy professor Dwight Cropp.