When Cori Bush says she is the people she represents, it’s not a campaign slogan. She will walk into the capitol building in 2020 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.
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.
A native St. Louisan, solely educated at local St. Louis schools and universities, Cori is a single parent, a registered nurse, a pastor, an activist, and a community organizer. Her work crosses cultural, ethnic, gender, and religious lines. As co-director of The Truth Telling Project, Cori travels the country highlighting the voices of the voiceless bringing light to their stories. She’s an international presenter on nonviolent conflict and has worked as a Nonviolence 365 Ambassador with the King Center.
Through her activism, Ms. Bush was honored as a recipient of the 2015 “Woman of Courage” Award from the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, the 2016 Delux Magazine “Power 100” Award, named one of the ‘Top 50 Women of St. Louis” by Gazelle Magazine, and honored as an “Unsung Human Rights Shero” by the St. Louis Coalition for Human Rights in 2017. She also received the 2018 “Community Activist” award from the Missouri Association of Black Ministers.
Cori emerged as a community leader through her work on the front lines of the Ferguson movement as a protester, as clergy, as a medic, and as a victim of police assault. Her work extends into the areas of mental health and sexual assault with efforts to co-found an emergency shelter for the unhoused community. Seeing firsthand the need for proper representation and better legislation for all, Cori ran a groundbreaking campaign for the U.S. Senate in Missouri in 2016, mobilizing thousands to engage in the political process, inspiring many to run for elected office. In 2017, she was elected the first vice-chairperson of the Missouri Democratic Party Progressive Caucus and was an organizer on the front lines of the St. Louis protests known as ‘Expect Us.’
In 2018, Cori received national recognition for her aspirational campaign, centering everyday people, as she sought to become the first black congresswoman from her state receiving endorsements from prominent leaders such as Dr. Angela Davis, Senator Nina Turner, Congressman Ro Khanna, and Shaun King.
As a result of her bold leadership and inspirational run to put an end to the political dynasty that has represented Missouri’s 1st since 1969, Cori’s campaign was featured in the documentary Knock Down The House. The award-winning documentary, directed by Rachel Lears and produced by Jubilee Films, follows four Brand New Congress candidates including Amy Vilela, Paula Jean Swearingen and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez through their election journey to pull off the most shocking political upset in recent American history.
In May of 2019, Cori received the Herschel Walker Award at the 27th Annual Herschel Walker “Peace & Justice” Awards. In June of 2019, she was selected Top Nurse by the International Nurses Association. In September 2019, she received the Living on Tradition Award, established in 2014 to honor the work of an individual or a group that exemplifies the values of the Community of Living Traditions (values such as justice, peacemaking, earth-consciousness, and racial hospitality). Cori Bush is also a National Surrogate for Senator Bernie Sanders. Her 2020 campaign was also endorsed by Presidential Candidate Senator Bernie Sanders.
Through the adversity – racism, sexism, misogyny, inequality, and corruption, Ms. Bush plans to continue in the bold fight for justice, equality and equity for all. Cori knows that her work is not done, and that the people of Missouri’s First Congressional District still deserve true representation.