The Importance of Electing Black Women
This election year brings about multiple feelings for me, including concerns about the future of Black women. We are essential to the well-being of our families, communities, and the nation for that matter. Black women, now more than ever, are creating opportunities for themselves in every area. We have all the elements of what should be success, yet our contributions are undervalued and grossly under compensated.
It was only 100 years ago that women finally gained the right to vote, by way of the 19th amendment. For Black women, it’s taken much longer to be invited to the table. Now, we are taking agency and making our voices heard.
Shirley Chisholm opened the door in 1968 as the first Black woman elected to Congress, as well as the first woman and Black person to seek the nomination for president of the United States. She famously said, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”
Over the past few years, Black women have seen more firsts in politics than ever before. However, they still make up just 2 percent of challengers to incumbents. If we truly want to create a more equitable America, we must bring that folding chair all the way to the White House – which means supporting Kamala Harris’ vice- presidential nomination.
The fact that all but one president (and every vice president) in the history of the United States has been a white man would be crazy, if America didn’t see leadership only in White men. Today, Black women elected officials are remedying this ideal with every chair they bring to the table.
On the surface, the Democratic Party platform includes many of the items that cross over to the Black women’s agenda. However, there are points of priority that distinguish a Black women’s agenda from a Democratic one. There are the key issues of voting rights, maternal mortality, healthcare, the growing income gap, the economy, and most importantly racial inequality.
When we support and protect Black women, we begin to break away physical violence that is normalized in America. Political underrepresentation, and lower pay all reflect a culture of American violence and devaluation. Black women’s experiences give them a unique perspective that can shed understanding on the intersection of racism and sexism.
There is no greater power than the right to vote. Ending racism may solve many of Black people’s problems, but electing Black women can save our nation.