At the virtual swearing in ceremony for Holly J. Mitchell to take her seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Justice Martin Jenkins quoted Ruth Bader Ginsberg. In her famous observation about how many women would be enough, Ginsberg wanted to see all the seats occupied by women, and Jenkins noted that Mitchell’s election created an all female Board of Supervisors for the first time in history.
At noon on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020 Holly Mitchell’s swearing in was presided over by Dr. Manuel Pastor, Director of USC’s Equity Research Institute, and Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity. He joked that Master of Ceremonies was his official title, but he’d prefer being remembered as the DJ. It set the tone for the lighthearted but historic moment.
All four Supervisors current Supervisors, Hilda Solis, Sheila Keuhl, Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger all offered their congratulations, and their candid excitement at Mitchell’s joining the board. Keuhl noted “She uses her talents to empower those she works with, and she challenges each of us to be our best selves, in the way that she always shows up as her best self.”
Before leading Mitchell in the oath of office, California State Supreme Court Justice Martin Jenkins recited a poem by Langston Hughes, Dream of Freedom, offering the words, “Unless shared in common – Like sunlight and like air, – The dream will die for lack – Of substance anywhere.”
After taking the oath, Mitchell offered “my thanks to so many: to my extended family, some by blood and others by choice. To the community leaders, activists, and sister friends,” who had worked for her and with her in pursuit of the office. ” I’d also like to thank my opponent, [Herb Wesson.] We spent a lot of time together in the last 18 months.”
She noted that in the 90 laws she had successfully passed during her work as State Senator, one of them had been featured on NBC that very morning – The CROWN Act, that prohibits discrimination against natural hairstyles.
Pulling full focus into the work ahead of her at the Board of Supervisors, she said “Equity will be a the center of all our work. . . to alleviate poverty and decriminalize childhood. I look forward to collaborating with the new anti-racism initiative created by the supervisors. My goal, as always, is to bring people in.”
The event ended with a presentation of drumming from the Korean Youth and Community Center.