Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) took her place as chair of the Democratic National Convention, and although the role was unexpected, NBCBLK notes, the Ohio congresswoman made a point to open with a call for unity and respect.
"We're all Democrats and we need to act like it," Fudge said Monday, vowing a "different kind of convention than the one we saw last week."
Fudge is one of three black women who are currently running the DNC; she is joined by Donna Brazile who is acting as interim Democratic National Committee chair, and Leah Daughtry, the CEO of the convention.
"We have three black women now running this convention: Rep. Marcia Fudge, Donna Brazile and Leah Daughtry," Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, told NBCBLK.
According to the site, back in November, Daughtry—who first led the convention as CEO in Denver in 2008—had promised "the most diverse and the most forward-looking convention that we've had in recent history."
And, as all accounts go, Fudge is rising to her new role.
"I know there are many of you in this room who don't know me," Fudge said, addressing the thousands of delegates gathered for the Democratic convention. "I intend to be fair, I want to hear the varying opinions here. I'm gong to be respectful of you, and I want you to be respectful of me."
Fudge told NBC News that she was prepared for her role.
"I do believe that we will have some people who may not be pleased with what is going on, we anticipate that. … I've been around here for the last few days, I've heard the disruptions, so I don't think it's going to be any different once we get inside the hall," she told the network.
"I think we just need to run our convention and let the email scandal take care of itself," Fudge continued. "I can't get into it, I haven't even read the emails, thank goodness, so I can't even discuss them with you. I just want us to do what Democrats do: We're gonna run the convention, we're gonna make sure that everybody understands that it's fair, that everyone has an opportunity to say what they want to say, and we're gonna move forward."
The rise of Fudge, as well as of Brazile as interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, follows the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Shultz as DNC chair amid a Wikileaks scandal in which Democratic Party emails were released showing staffers favoring Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the primary. Brazile had to step down from her position as a political contributor with CNN in order to take over her new duties.
Brazile has made history before; she was the first black woman to act as campaign manager for a major-party candidate, working for Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, For Harriet notes.