New Congresswoman Celebrates Her Korean Heritage

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Rep. Marilyn Strickland (D-Wash.) wore a traditional Korean hanbok to her swearing-in ceremony.

WASHINGTON — The 117th Congress is the most diverse in history, and one example of that is Rep. Marilyn Strickland, a Democrat from Washington state.

At the swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 3, she wore a hanbok in honor of her mother’s Korean heritage.

Traditionally worn for formal or semi-formal occasions such as festivals, celebrations, and ceremonies, the hanbok is characterized by its wrapped front top, long, high-waisted skirt and vibrant colors.

Strickland, along with Reps. Michelle Steel and Young Kim, both Republicans from Orange County, are the first Korean American women to serve in Congress.

A former mayor of Tacoma, Strickland is also the first African American to represent her state. Her father, a World War II and Korean War veteran, met her mother while stationed in South Korea, where she was born.

“Today, I was honored to be sworn into one of the most historically diverse Congresses in history, joining a record number of women, and women of color, serving in our Democratic majority,” Strickland tweeted.

“As a woman of both Korean American and African American descent, it was deeply personal to wear my hanbok, which not only symbolizes my heritage and honors my mother, but also serves as a larger testament to the importance of diversity in our nation, state, and the People’s House.”

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