ZORA and The Blackness present Moonrakers 2020

Sheila Jackson Lee Is a Warrior Queen Battling for Equality

Driven by a passion for justice, the longtime congresswoman has a fighting spirit that won’t quit

Tara Dowdell
ZORA
Published in
4 min readOct 8, 2019

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Illustration: Eisner award-winning artist John Jennings

SSheila Jackson Lee is a warrior. A fierce and fearless fighter for her Texas district and for the most vulnerable among us. From her powerful presence to her regal style, she carries herself with the confidence and authority of a queen. Although this queen’s leadership style is strong and at times intimidating, she is a compassionate and devoted servant of her constituents.

I witnessed firsthandLee’s commitment to the people of her district. She came to my home state of New Jersey to campaign on behalf of a former governor. I spent nearly 15 hours with her, prepping her ahead of campaign stops and staffing her at each one. In much of the time between stops, she called widows and widowers to offer heartfelt condolences, made calls to try to help unemployed young adults in her district secure jobs, listened to the concerns of struggling constituents, and directed staff to follow up on connecting constituents in need to the resources that could assist them. She was intense, focused, passionate, and committed. The entire time we were together, she never stopped working. She never stopped serving. She never stopped demanding more of herself and her staff.

Despite working nonstop between campaign stops, she wowed and inspired the crowds at every event. She warmly greeted voters, shook hands, took photos, and delivered fiery and rousing speeches. She even found time between back-to-back calls and heading to the next destination to offer advice and support for my small business. She was tireless. She was a queen.

Some may say this warrior queen is too strong and too demanding — something never ascribed to kings. But the battle for justice and equality requires strength and will.

LLee has had to fight all of her life. She fought her way to Yale University at a time when opportunity was still severely…

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Tara Dowdell
ZORA
Writer for

Entrepreneur at taradowdellgroup.com, a socially conscious marketing agency. Former campaign operative. Lover of travel and laugher at my own jokes.