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:
- 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.
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
Jean–Pierre joined the Columbia University faculty in 2014 where she teaches a course at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).