Representative Strickland wore the hanbok in honor of her Korean mother and reflect the importance of diversity in the United States.
Newly-elected Washington Representative Marilyn Strickland made history as an Asian African American woman when she was sworn into Congress on Sunday. Not only is she the first African American to represent her state in Congress, but she is also one of the first Korean American women elected to the House of Representatives ever since it was established 231 years ago. The 117th Congress is one of the most diverse yet, representing the multicultural population of the United States. Therefore, Democrat Strickland wanted to pay homage to her Korean roots, choosing to attend the swearing-in ceremony wearing a traditional hanbok, CNN reports.
Today, we begin the #117thCongress with a historically diverse Democratic Majority.— Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (@RepStricklandWA) January 3, 2021
Today, we prove that Korean Americans, Black Americans, and women belong in the halls of Congress.
Today, we #GetToWork for WA-10!#ForThePeople pic.twitter.com/Sirvtw1bSo
A hanbok is the traditional two-piece clothing worn in Korea for formal or semi-formal occasions and events, including festivals, celebrations, and ceremonies. Made of silk, hanboks are typically bright in color. Representative Strickland's fitting red and blue hanbok was no different. In a statement, she explained that the hanbok paid respects to her mother, who is Korean. She affirmed, "As a woman of both Korean-American and African-American descent, it was deeply personal to wear my hanbok, which not only symbolizes my heritage and honors my mother, but also serves as a larger testament to the importance of diversity in our nation, state, and the People's House."
As a woman of both Korean-American and African-American descent, it was deeply personal to wear my #Hanbok, which not only symbolizes my heritage & honors my mother, but also serves as a larger testament to the importance of diversity in our nation, state, and the People’s House. pic.twitter.com/6e7igbjQvQ— Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (@RepStricklandWA) January 4, 2021
The Representative was herself born in Seoul, South Korea, to an African American World War II and Korean War veteran. Her mother met him while he was stationed in the South East Asian country. Prior to entering the House of Representatives, Strickland served as the mayor of Tacoma, Washington, for seven years, from 2010 to 2017. She first moved to Tacoma with her family in 1967 after her father was stationed at Fort Lewis. Raised in the South End neighborhood of Tacoma, she attended Mount Tahoma High School and later earned a degree in business from the University of Washington and an MBA from Clark Atlanta University.
Nice to see my @CAPAC friend and colleague @RepAndyKimNJ on the House floor yesterday as we were sworn into the 117th Congress, making history for the Korean American community! https://t.co/cR9zyCKAch pic.twitter.com/gnrtXmUPlo— Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (@RepStricklandWA) January 4, 2021
Before entering the public sector, Strickland worked at Northern Life Insurance doing clerical work and as a manager of the online business at Starbucks. She also helped launch the City of Tacoma’s public broadband cable service Click!, working with an advertisement agency to help rally public support for the initiative. It was only after several years in the private sector that she was elected to the Tacoma City Council, where she served as a council member for two years before being elected as the city's mayor. Representative succeeds Democrat Dennis Lynn Heck, who is currently the lieutenant governor-elect of Washington. She is only one of the many diverse freshwomen of Congress.