This week’s #WomanCrushWednesday goes out to Salomé Chimuku, multilingual Jill-of-all-trades and co-founder of the Black Resilience Fund. Salomé’s family immigrated to the United States just before she was born. They were refugees in Zambia for nearly two decades. She’s the youngest of six kids.
Salomé’s love of politics started early – her parents were both political. She studied Political Science at Willamette University and worked her way through college. Her very first job in politics was working in the Secretary of State’s office under now-Governor Kate Brown. She was just 19 years old when she took on a summer project with PolitiCorps, an intensive training program to groom future leaders for careers in public service. She was the youngest person ever to go through the program! She took a job with the Senate Majority Office and became known as a universal staffer – when someone went on sabbatical, she’d step in. Salomé speaks five languages (Bantu, Portuguese, English, German and a little Russian) so she worked as a translator on lobby days, when people brought guests. She was on the Board of Directors for Unite Oregon and was a lobbyist for many of the grassroots organizations that didn’t have a full-time lobbyist on staff. Salomé was the head lobbyist for Oregon’s End Profiling Act of 2015. It was a HUGE deal – in previous legislative sessions, lawmakers weren’t successful in pushing bills aimed at ending racial profiling. Salomé stepped in and got law enforcement behind it – something no one had been able to do before! Law enforcement agencies weren’t thrilled at the idea of someone else investigating complaints against them, but they praised Salomé for her patience and diplomacy during the process – instead of taking sides, she helped translate in a productive way. And that made all the difference! She’s also a co-founder of the Black Resilience Fund – an emergency fund for Black Portlanders who need help paying their bills or finding services. Having worked pretty much every job in politics possible, Salomé is well-versed in organizing people, managing budgets and providing other invaluable skills to nonprofits.
Salomé is an award-winning digital artist and public speaker. She is queer and has a disability – complex PTSD. You can often find her in the company of her mighty service animal, Hercules! She’s also a huge comic book nerd and enjoys playing the accordion in her down time.