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Congressman Emanuel Cleaver

Representing the 5th District of MISSOURI

Where We Stand

Feb 17, 2017
EC from DC

This week on Capitol Hill has been a trying and unbelievable week. I had intended to join my colleagues from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who called for a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, (ICE) officials, and found myself in unprecedented territory. A number of Democratic Members of Congress, myself included, were barred from entering the meeting. Never has this happened, in my twelve years in Congress, that Members were denied access to an informational meeting – especially the very Members who had requested the meeting. My first thought was - this is the new Washington. But it wasn’t enough to defeat me and it won’t be enough to defeat my colleagues as we continue to stand up for our constituents.

It reminded me of a story that The Reverend Noah A. Cleaver, my great grandpa, loved to tell. It’s the story of an older enslaved African American woman who heard that a Confederate regiment was moving through an east Texas plantation. When she heard the thundering hooves of approaching horses, she picked up a broom and ran out to the middle of the muddy road. When the captain of the regiment saw her, he turned to his men and shouted, “Stand easy, men!” and with irritation in his voice he said, “ . . . you don’t really think you can stop the war or even slavery with that little broom?” The old woman, with a fierce and icy stare, pointed the broom stick at the captain and answered, “ . . . don’t suppose I can, but you know where I stand!”

As Democrats we no longer occupy the White House, we are outnumbered in Congress, and the High Court will soon sway further to the right. But even if the numbers are against us, we still have our “broom sticks.” So, whatever the odds and challenges we face, let’s point our “broom sticks” at those who want to hold us back, and let them know where we stand and what we always stand for – justice, fairness and equality.


Emanuel Cleaver, II Member of Congress