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10 Facts About Karine Jean-Pierre, The First Black And Openly Gay U.S. Press Secretary



The role of the United States Press Secretary is critical because it serves as the primary link between the President and the American people. Karine Jean-Pierre made history by becoming the first Black and openly gay person in the United States to hold this position.

Her path to the White House has been nothing short of extraordinary, marked by her unwavering commitment to public service and breaking down barriers. Jean-Pierre is responsible for effectively communicating the President’s policies and initiatives to the public and the press as the face of the Biden Administration’s communication efforts. Her appointment not only cemented her place in history, but also served as a beacon of hope and inspiration for future generations, encouraging them to dream big and strive for excellence in all they do.

Here are 10 interesting facts about her life and journey that you may not know:

  1. She is a Haitian immigrant

She is a first-generation immigrant with a diverse cultural background. On August 13, 1977, she was born to Haitian parents in Fort-de-France, Martinique. Her family relocated to Queens Village, New York, when she was five years old, as the eldest of three siblings. Her parents, a home health aide and a taxi driver, instilled in her a young age the value of hard work and perseverance. Her Haitian ancestry and immigrant experience have had a significant impact on her political views and worldview. She has always been a strong supporter of social justice, particularly the rights of immigrants and people of color.

2. She has a diverse educational background

Jean-Pierre has a diverse educational background and is highly educated. She graduated with a B.S. from the New York Institute of Technology in 1997 and an M.P.A. from Columbia University’s School of Public and International Affairs in 2003. Her involvement in student government at Columbia solidified her interest in politics and public service. Her education prepared her for a variety of roles in the public and private sectors, including her experience as a lecturer in international and public affairs at Columbia University. Her education also shaped her understanding of the intersectionality of issues such as race, gender, and socioeconomic status, as well as how they influence policy-making and governance.

3. Worked in the White House under the Obama Administration

Jean-Pierre has had a lengthy and successful career in politics, campaigns, and activism. She began her political career in 2004 as the Director of Legislative and Budget Affairs for the New York City Council. She then worked on several political campaigns, including Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012, where she held various leadership positions. She then worked as a White House Liaison for the Secretary of Labor and Regional Political Director for the White House Office of Political Affairs during the Obama Administration.

Karine Jean-Pierre worked on President Barack Obama’s two victorious presidential campaigns.
Instagram / Karine Jean-Pierre

4. Has managed several successful political campaigns

She continued to work on political campaigns after leaving the White House, including as Campaign Manager for Letitia James’ successful run for New York City Public Advocate in 2013. She was also the Senior Advisor and National Spokesperson for, as well as the Campaign Manager for the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Initiative. Her experience in political campaigns and the White House has given her a thorough understanding of government operations and how to effectively communicate with the public.

5. Is openly gay

Jean-Pierre is an openly gay woman who has long been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. She was the first openly gay woman to serve as White House Press Secretary, making her a political trailblazer. Her visibility as an openly gay woman in such a high-profile position has the potential to inspire other LGBTQ+ people to pursue their dreams and aspire to positions of leadership in government and other fields. She has also been forthcoming about her personal life; she is in a domestic partnership with journalist Suzanne Malveaux, with whom she has a daughter.

6. Has been a frequent TV political commentator

Jean-Pierre has been a frequent political commentator and analyst on news networks, most notably MSNBC. She has appeared on numerous programs as a frequent guest, providing expert analysis on current political events and issues. Her appearances on these shows have given her a lot of exposure and helped to establish her as a respected political voice. Her background as a political commentator and analyst has also helped her develop strong communication skills, which are essential in her role as Press Secretary. Her ability to communicate effectively and concisely has been demonstrated in press briefings, where she has provided clear and direct information to the press and the general public.

7. She is a published author

Jean-Pierre is also a published author. In 2019, she published her autobiography “Moving Forward,” in which she discusses her own mental health struggles as well as her unconventional path to politics. In her book, she reflects on her upbringing in New York City’s Haitian immigrant community, her experiences working on political campaigns and in the White House, and the lessons she has learned along the way.

Pierre-Jean has been in a long-term relationship and shares a daughter with CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux.
Photo credit: Instagram / Suzanne Malveaux


8. She is multilingual

Jean-Pierre is a multilingual person. She is bilingual (English and French). Her command of the French language stems from her upbringing in Martinique, where French is the official language. Her ability to communicate in two languages has served her well throughout her career, particularly in her current role as Press Secretary, where she communicates with both English-speaking and French-speaking journalists. She also speaks Creole, which is the primary language of the Haitian community.

9. Has a strong background in community organizing and grassroots activism

She previously worked in several community organizations, including the New York City Council and Wal-Mart Watch, on issues such as environmental protection and labor rights. Her background in community organizing has given her a thorough understanding of the needs of marginalized communities, as well as the value of grassroots activism in effecting change. As Press Secretary, she has been able to use her background in community organizing to communicate the Biden Administration’s policies and initiatives to the public in an approachable and relatable manner. She has also used her platform to emphasize the importance of grassroots activism and community engagement in promoting social justice and equity.

10. She is a professor

JeanPierre joined the Columbia University faculty in 2014 where she teaches a course at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).


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