Tiara Mack, a Democratic Senator of Rhode Island, went viral after posting a campaign video of her twerking on TikTok on July 4. Besides twerking, there are awesome things beneath the surface. Here are five things you did not know about Ms. Mack.
1. Unseated The Long-Term Incumbent
In the 2020 Rhode Island Senate elections, the 26-year-old young woman defeated the longtime incumbent democratic state senator Harold Metts who had served in the state Legislature since 1985.
To win the election, Mack spent a year canvassing in Hispanic areas, including the capital of Rhode Island, Providence. She owned the ambition and confidence, believing that she had a real chance and there would be room for her different voice in the district.
As a graduate, volunteer, and activist, it was hard to compete with Harold Metts, an experienced politician who spent 20 years in the state House and 15 years in the state Senate. Nevertheless, her campaign and her more liberal thoughts won over the support of younger and socially liberal voters, eventually winning by a landslide.
Since then, she became the first LGBTQ black woman in the Rhode Island state Senate.
2. “Unapologetically Black & Queer”
Regarding her sexuality and race, Mack felt proud of her identity. In 2020, she stated:
“I’m going to be unapologetically Black, I’m going to be unapologetically queer, and I’m going to be unapologetically young, and I’m going to push back against the system that tells us we don’t deserve justice now.”
As a formerly low-income queer and black woman, Mack has stood for justice and liberation for the LGBTQ community, especially Black and brown people.
This year, Mack supported Rhode Island schools to teach children from grades 6 to 12 about sexual relations, different sexual orientations, and same-sex relationships.
“I have the audacity, the integrity and the bravery to introduce legislation that says to Rhode Island’s youth and particularly our LGBTQ-plus youth, I see you and you deserve dignity, respect … and most importantly, affirming education.”
On June 20 this year, the senator posted a picture of herself on Pride weekend, expressing her pride, joy, and wishes for the sexual minority group.
3. Codified Roe V. Wade Into State Law
Not only protecting the rights of Black and LGBTQ communities, but Mack has also cared about the fundamental rights of women.
In 2018, Mack took a part in the Rhode Island campaign to codify Roe Vs Wade into state law, guaranteeing women’s rights to abortion.
In 2019, the Reproductive Privacy Act was passed by the Senate in a 21-17 vote and sailed through the House on a 45-29 vote before it was signed into law by Gov. Gina Raimondo.
“I’m really thankful that Rhode Island, after years and years of advocacy, was able to codify Roe vs. Wade, which is the protection to make sure that abortion is safe and legal in our state,” Mack said. “It’s there, but it makes me really worried for our surrounding states that do not have that.”
4. A College Student At Boston University
In 2012, Mack moved to Providence to attend Brown University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public health.
As a girl who grew up in the conservative South, the liberal culture of Brown University opened Mack’s mind.
She began to meet LGBTQ friends, and talk about sex, pleasure, and body autonomy, which gave her the motivation to start her journey in politics.
At the University, she was actively engaged in the community and became a sexual health educator, conducting sex education at the local high school and volunteering in women’s organizations, protecting women’s reproductive health and abortion.
5. Life As A Rugby Player
In addition to the role of an activist, Mack was also a member of the University’s women’s rugby team.
“I definitely don’t see myself as a politician,” Mack told World Rugby. “But I think all of the things that I’ve learnt through rugby have made me a natural leader.
Mack was first introduced to rugby at 14, and cemented her love for the game when she was a freshman in college. In her senior year, she was named an All-American, being regarded as the best at her position.
The experience in the rugby team has benefited Mack a lot in politics.
“A lot of the things I learnt in rugby carry over into real life. I mean, politics is a great example,” she said.
She learned to seize and take advantage of chances, corporate with teammates, and prepare well for games, and she put these into practice in politics.
“If I’m not working with everyone in that chamber to see that bill pass, if I’m not collaborating with my colleagues, it’s never going to happen.”