Rep. Pressley addresses threats to democracy at Juneteenth celebration

The Congresswoman urged attendees to vote, and warned against Project 2025.


Vineyarders filled Union Chapel Saturday afternoon for the third annual Juneteenth Jubilee Cultural Festival, attending conversations with Rep. Ayanna Pressley and former NASA administrator Charles Boden, as well as artists and a culinary historian.

Kahina van Dyke, event founder, summer Oak Bluffs resident, and financial technology executive, welcomed the crowd and introduced guests.

The chapel audience also kicked off the jubilee with a standing rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” led by ToriTori, Boston Music Awards’ 2023 R&B Artist of the Year.

Pressley, in conversation with Van Dyke, spoke at length about serving as a Black woman in Congress — she is Massachusetts’ first black representative — and warned against dangers to democracy in the U.S.

Speaking first about her early experiences with politics, Pressley recalled being exposed to policy issues at a young age, through her mother’s struggles with healthcare and fair pay. “I knew my mother as a woman first,” she said. “Someone whose traumas were unhealed, someone who was gaslit by our healthcare system, and her pain delegitimized and questioned, someone who was not paid according to her work.”

When Van Dyke asked Pressley whether the nation’s democratic institutions and processes were endangered, the representative answered, “Absolutely.”

Pressley highlighted recent Supreme Court decisions, including the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and a challenging five years in office that included a government shutdown, two impeachments, an insurrection, and a global pandemic.

Speaking about the Supreme Court, Pressley supported term limits, investigations of impropriety, and a code of ethics for justices, as well as adding seats to the court.

She also dedicated a large portion of her appearance to discussing Project 2025, a collection of policy proposals from conservatives intended for a second Trump presidency.

The proposals, organized by the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank and written in part by multiple Trump administration officials, include recruiting conservatives to replace federal civil servants, increasing the president’s power over the executive branch, abolishing the Department of Education, and cutting funding for climate research.

Pressley, who serves on the recently formed Congressional Stop 2025 Task Force, noted the project’s funding by major conservative donors such as Leonard Leo, and added that many on the far right seek to replace public servants with loyalists, and ban books. “They want to ban words from all federal policies, like diversity, equity, and inclusion, abortion,” she told the chapel crowd. “They don’t make threats. They make promises.”

When asked what individuals concerned about democracy should do, Pressley first recommended voting in every election.

“We know what legislative hurt and harm looks like. But we cannot legislate to actually heal an injustice if you don’t vote. So voting is an act of self-care,” she said, adding, “I would encourage people to take the personalities out of it, and focus on the policy.

“The policies determine who lives. The policies determine who dies. The policies determine who survives. The policies determine who thrives,” Pressley told attendees.

Pressley, known for being a left-wing member of Congress, also addressed negative press coverage she has received while in office, comparing it with her experience as a black woman. “When people ask, ‘What is it like to be targeted and surveyed?’ and all of these things that I experience — just because I hold the title of congresswoman, I didn’t stop being a Black woman … How I show up is disruptive to people who cannot handle the light of this melanated bald crown.”

“It is what it is,” she added. “They get nervous, sis.”

Pressley also supported abolishing the filibuster, and recommended that people donate to organizations like the ACLU that combat political misinformation.


  1. I’m a Democrat, but her ideas are way too far left for this country and for Massachusetts. Expanding the Supreme Court? Does she have any foresight for when it’s someday full of Republicans? A “ban” on words? Those DEI problems are shown now to harm what they seek to address. The message that Black and Latino populations can’t succeed on their own and need the scale tipped is offensive to those who do it.

    • I think we can add, further, that threats to democracy include the inability to work together and to agree on proposals that can move the country forward. Rep. Pressley probably has some give-and-take in her policy positions somewhere, right? When it’s my way or the highway, we are headed towards a dictatorship, whether socialist or fascist. Let’s remember that it’s not what our national family is about…we should seek to agree and disagree and move the country forward today. If there are still racial and linguistic issues she has one must ask, deeply, if the language is the problem or is she discussed the policies themselves rather than the wording of them, think about that one, too.

  2. Members of Congress should be required to take an I.Q. test, and be subjected to random drug and alcohol tests.

    Have a good night!


    • Reggie– did i miss that clause in the constitutional requirements for
      serving in congress ? I have a prescription for lisinopril —
      should I be disqualified from serving in congress ?
      But, I’m sure if those were required, we could get rid of
      at least 2 radical women in congress.
      One of which we have seen on video using
      marijuana in a theater, and the other one who thinks
      there are lasers in space that a Jewish billionaire uses to start fire with.
      Do we really need to give her an IQ test ?

  3. Rep. Pressley keep up your good work. I agree whole heartedly with your proposals (I’m a 76 year old white woman). The richest country in the world can afford to provide a decent standard of living for every citizen. That’s when we will have accomplished the American Dream. We need a SCOTUS that’s apolitical and will reinstate Roe v Wade and overturn Citizens United. Politicians and votes shouldn’t be for sale. Full stop.

  4. This individual is the Mass. State Representative for district 7 in the Mass. State Legislature. District 7 is about 3/4 of Boston and some Northern and Southern suburbs. Not a Senator, not a member of the United States House of Representatives.

  5. Presley and the rest of the radicals in the Squad threaten democracy daily! Dopey Bowman was sent packing by voters this week. A good start. AOC ans presley next!

    • Far left Squad member Cori Bush of Missouri is up next in Aug. Let’s keep the ball rolling!

  6. This individual is the Mass. State Representative for district 7 in the Mass. State Legislature.
    Google first.

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