No issue on Snapping Back would be complete without a feature on the queen of snap backs, Maxine Waters. Before I even get to her iconic moments from the past year, I’d like to give you a little history of Congresswoman Waters and some of the details that she credits with making her who she is.

Maxine Waters was born 5th of 13 children, in St. Louis Missouri, in 1938. (Take a moment to realize that she’s 79-years-old as of this writing and pray that you too might be blessed with her sharp wit, energy and grace when you’re hitting 80). In 1960 she and her two children moved to Los Angeles, where the single mother went back to school to earn her sociology degree. From there, it was nothing but pure magic. I’m white, so I’m no authority on this, but I think this is what they call #blackgirlmagic.

Congresswoman Waters’ focus on women and marginalized communities has always driven her work, and if you want a deeper look into the amazing things that Maxine Waters has achieved during her time in public service you don’t have to go much further than her own bio.

But that’s part of what we love about Maxine Waters, and that brings me to the crux of this piece. She never shies away from herself. She never denies her own space. When it comes to snapping back, she remembers it’s a response. It’s not someone stirring something up or causing drama, it’s someone defending themselves or an idea, or having a sharp response to something. Maxine Waters is who she is because she grew up in a world where she always had to defend herself, to make space for herself, and to fight to be heard.

Personally, I feel it’s time to tell Congresswoman Waters exactly what she means to me, keeping in mind that I am a white woman and do not live at the intersections of those that she champions the most.

Here, I would like to say a few words to the queen of snap backs herself…

Dear Congresswoman Waters,

I don’t mean to sound forward, but I love your eyes. I love the way you look over your reading glasses, like when you reclaimed your time from Steve Mnuchin.

I love the way you laugh in the face of adversity, especially in the CNN interview with Chris Cuomo when you were asked if your statement about “coming for Trump” was a threat on his life. You just laughed and said that no one believes an 80-year-old grandmother was threatening the president.

I love the way you speak truth to power. How your voice doesn’t waver, how you stand your ground, how you don’t let anyone get away with anything.  

I love what an inspiration you are to women and girls, particularly black women and girls who call you Auntie and turn your words into marching orders. I love how you listen, particularly to the voices of the most marginalized. I love that I can hear their voices when you speak, how you are a walking amplification. I love your symbiotic relationship with your constituents, how you uplift them and they uplift you.

I love that you are history, present and future. I love that I see in you the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, the war on poverty, the LA riots. I love that, even now, your focus is on the future, the young people, the voices and the new ways of doing things.

I just wanted to say thank you for being you, and that I love everything about who you are. I especially love how you snap back. Never stop. <3


Erynn Brook

P.S. I hope my wardrobe is half as good as yours someday, but I really love stretchy pants.

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