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Five dead. Police officers beaten with pipes. Three Congresspeople down with Covid, including Bonnie Watson Coleman.

Take a moment to think about Rep. Coleman.

Bonnie Watson Coleman is the first African American woman to represent New Jersey in Congress. Her father, John Watson, was a state legislator and she served eight consecutive terms in the New Jersey state legislature, becoming the first Black woman to serve as Majority Leader and chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.

During her time as Majority Leader, Watson Coleman convened a year-long series of public hearings on reforms to prisoner re-entry programs while shepherding legislation that the New York Times called “a model for the rest of the nation,” on prisoner rehabilitation and release.

In her three terms in the U.S. Congress, Watson Coleman wrote the Healthy MOM Act, which would allow women to enroll in, or change their health coverage, if they become pregnant; the End For-Profit Prisons Act, which would prohibit the federal government from contracting with for-profit prison corporations; the SAFER Pipelines Act that would reform the gas pipeline approval process overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and the Customer Non-Discrimination Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in “public accommodations,” such as schools, recreational facilities and retail stores.

In 2016, Watson Coleman founded the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls.

And Bonnie Watson Coleman is 75 year old, a lung cancer survivor. Since the pandemic hit, she has been exceedingly careful, isolating as much as possible, often voting by proxy. On Jan. 6, with trepidation, she arrived at the U.S. Capitol to confirm the electoral college count.

Now she has now been diagnosed with Covid, after being forced to shelter from rioters with Republican colleagues who refused to wear masks.

broken image

Bonnie Watson Coleman at her swearing in. She had lost her hair from chemotherapy.

Read more, in her own words in The Washington Post.