In honor of women’s history month, Paul Stafford explains how he was honored to Barbara Jordan, who had a profound impact on him as a child.

Many summers ago, there was a televised hearing, during which a stately African-American female with an impeccable command of the language, perfect diction, and precise inflection, reminded a child and a nation of the value of accountability. That child was me. That nation was ours. That hearing was Watergate. As I watched the proceedings intently, I asked my mother “Who’s that lady…? She speaks really good.”, to which my mother replied “That’s the Representative from Houston.” That woman was Barbara Jordan. I took passive pride in Jordan’s articulate manner and stately demeanor – poised, poignant, persuasive – befitting the office which she held during a critical time in the nation’s history. Proof that words matter, and that truth and courage are gender neutral.

It was an honor when I met her years later during my college years – her body failing, yet her mind still focused. She set the standard of competence, decorum, and leadership – for all.

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