For U.S. Congress
When Cori Bush says she is the people she represents, it's not a campaign slogan. She will walk into the capitol building in 2018 carrying with her the months she spent homeless, the children she raised on her own, the patients who can't afford medication and the assault she suffered protesting injustice.
Cori has never lived anywhere but St. Louis. When she talks about jobs and opportunity rather than tear gas and tanks, it's because she worked a dead-end job and watched tanks roll through the streets of her city. When Cori says St. Louis needs new leadership, everyone listening knows she's right. And it's obvious it should be her.
When Cori was 19, she applied to an early childhood education center and started teaching 3 year olds. Over the next 10 years she moved into other classes and eventually into management. She was hard-working and talented but the job had a salary cap of $10.50. She would never be eligible for another raise. Her boss, who was a nurse, could see Cori's potential so she suggested nursing school.
Cori started balancing school with full time work. And also with marriage, a 1 year old and another child on the way. Two months after her second child was born, she could no longer afford rent, even working full time. So she moved with her husband, her toddler and an 8-week-old infant, into her car.
Cori didn’t reach out for help. "I didn’t know how to reach out. I felt like I had a job and a car, so why would I take shelter resources from other homeless people who don’t have those things." She and her husband moved the car around the city, worried that if they were in front of one house for too long someone might call the police.
After 4 months, she had saved enough to move into an extended stay hotel and then eventually a co-worker offered her a rental property. It was not long after that she divorced and became a single mother with no child support. She moved in with her father and found a program that helped with resources for her son, who was disabled.
"I didn’t know how to reach out. I felt like I had a job and a car, so why would I take shelter resources from other homeless people don’t have those things."
BECOMING A NURSE
In 2008, Cori finished nursing school and began working as a transplant nurse. By 2009 she was managing other nurses. Back on her first day of nursing school, she had known nothing about nursing or terminology. And after only one year, she had been promoted to regional charge nurse, leading the whole transplant unit. She felt an extraordinary sense of accomplishment.
By the time Michael Brown was shot in August of 2014, Cori had become a pastor and had been leading her own ministry for 3 years. She was deeply connected to her community in St. Louis. When Ferguson erupted with protest, she joined in. “I wanted to be present. I wanted to see justice. I went back everyday to see if justice would come, and it didn’t.”
Cori went back to Ferguson every day for 8 months. She was there as a protestor, a pastor, a nurse and on the day Michael Brown’s shooter was not indicted, she was also a victim. She was thrown to the ground and stomped by 6 police officers.
“I wanted to be present. I wanted to see justice. I went back everyday to see if justice would come, and it didn’t.”
It became clear she would not see justice. “The media and the police had their own narrative but it was not what we were seeing on the ground. I thought it was an opportunity for real people to get their stories out. Someone else was getting to the families first before they could tell their stories.” So Cori decided it was time to pull together activists from all over the country. Together they created The Truth Telling Project, a national platform for victims of injustice to tell their stories.
RUNNING FOR CONGRESS
By 2016 Cori was supervising several mental health clinics serving the homeless and under-insured in St. Louis. The impossible task of getting medication for her patients was one of many factors that made her decide to look for a large-scale solution.
Cori entered the Democratic race for U.S Senate and won an amazing 13.3% with very little budget while working as a full-time nurse. Not long after the primary, a trusted friend told her that Brand New Congress was looking for people who truly represent their communities to run for Congress in 2018. When he told her they were looking for regular people, nurses and teachers, she knew she wanted to be a part.
Running for Congress is not a career move for Cori. It's the only way to guarantee that her mental health patients will get the medication they need, that young mothers in her congregation will have child care so they can work and that her city will no longer be haunted by injustice. Cori wants to replace the legacy of injustice in St. Louis with real leadership, and she’s the perfect candidate to do it.
To support Cori Bush for Congress.