Sherry Harris, Pioneer City Councillor.

b. February 27, 1965

All real and lasting change starts first on the inside and works it way through to the outside. Politically speaking, each person being the change we wish to see in the world is the only stance that can make a lasting difference. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.



Believing it impossible to win election as an out lesbian, many people warned Sherry Harris against running for Seattle City Council. In 1991, Harris proved her skeptics wrong. She defeated a 24-year incumbent councilman and became the nation’s first openly lesbian African-American city council member.Prior to politics, Harris pursued a professional career in engineering. In 1980, she received a B.S. in Human Factors Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She worked as a project engineer for PNW Bell Telephone Company. 


As Seattle City Councilmember from 1992 to 1995, Harris championed downtown interests. She promoted the expansion of the Washington State Convention and Trade Center and supported a downtown symphony hall. A native of Newark, New Jersey, Harris said, “I was raised in a city where the downtown died, and so did the rest of the city.”


Harris has worked with Humanity’s Team, an organization that emphasizes interpersonal connections. One volunteer who worked closely with Harris said, “She is truly a fine leader demonstrating great passion for humanity’s well-being [who] displays uncompromising strength of character.”
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