Awet Tesfaiesus has become the first Black woman to be elected into the German parliament. The 47-year-old lawyer achieved the feat on Sunday when she was elected on the platform of the Green Party to represent the state of Hesse.
The Eritrean-born politician has been the spokesperson for integration and equality for the Green parliamentary group in the Kassel city parliament since 2016.
It was the racist attack in Hanau that prompted her to run for the Bundestag in the first place, Tesfaiesus says. On 19 February 2020, a 43-year-old German shot dead nine people with foreign roots in Hanau out of sheer racially-motivated hate. At the time, the Black politician first considered leaving the country with her husband and son, but then she decided to stay and fight for a better future.
Tesfaiesus, who has been a member of the Green Party since 2009, has announced that she would work hard for equal opportunities and a better asylum law, as well as fight against racism and discrimination in the Bundestag.
Tesfaiesus was born in Eritrea in 1974. She fled to Germany with her family when she was still a child. “It is a great honour to be the first black woman in the Bundestag,” she says.
Two other Afro-German politicians were also elected into the Bundestag at Sunday’s election. They are Senegalese-born Karamba Diaby of the SPD, who won his third election into the federal parliament to represent Halle, and Cameroon-born Armand Zorn, also of the SPD, who won a direct mandate in Frankfurt.