Tag: Black Women in Politics

Democratic National Committee Launches “Seat At The Table” Tour, a New Black Women Outreach Initiative

Two women hold signs reading “Vote Baby Vote” and “Voting is People Power,” c. 1970. (Photo by Gabriel Hackett /Getty Images)

by Ashley Alese Edwards via refinery29.com

The Democratic National Committee has launched a new initiative, the Seat At the Table Tour, a Black women outreach tour designed to “rebuild relationships, restore trust, and strengthen infrastructure within communities to champion Democratic values and build towards electoral victories,” Refinery29 has learned.

Black women have been the Democratic Party’s most reliable voting bloc since the 1990s. Doug Jones’ win over Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate special election in December especially highlighted Black women’s power; they were largely credited to lifting Jones to victory through on the ground organizing and voter registration efforts.

Despite this, however, the Democratic Party has been criticized for neglecting the needs of Black women and not adequately supporting Black women who are running for office. Many Black women candidates, particularly in Alabama, have been operating with little institutional support, as Refinery29 reported in June.

According to the DNC, the tour, in collaboration with the Congressional Black Caucus and Black women mayors, will consist of listening and training sessions for Black women.

“This is the Democratic Party’s opportunity to show that we want more than just Black Women’s votes. We also need and want Black Women’s input, ideas, and organizing power,” Waikinya Clanton, the DNC’s director of African American outreach, told Refinery29. “We want to hear from Black Women across this country about what keeps them up at night and what we can do to help fix it. Whether it’s training candidates on how to address certain issues, training organizers on how to advocate on issues locally or connecting Black women Democrat. We want to connect and work with Black women to help move this country forward in a real and meaningful way.”

The tour officially kicked off June 16 in Brooklyn, where the late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress, was honored.

According to Black Women In Politics, a database of Black women running for office, there are 603 Black women candidates this year.

“This is our chance to invest in more than just candidates and state parties but opportunity to invest in infrastructure and people who help sustain communities,” Clanton said.

Source: https://www.refinery29.com/dnc-seat-at-the-table-black-women-initiative

Meet 18 Candidates Leading the Historic Rise of Black Women Running for Office in Alabama

by Jamia Wilson (with reporting by Samantha Leach) via glamour.com

Before Black Panther celebrated the all-­female freedom fighters of Wakanda, real-life black women formed their own type of special-forces unit in Alabama. When a whopping 98 percent of African American women voters united behind Doug Jones, they were able to elect him as the first Democrat to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate in more than 20 years. They didn’t just defeat Roy Moore; they rocked the political status quo.

They have no intention of stopping there.

An unprecedented groundswell of at least 70 black women have launched electoral campaigns across Alabama for local, state, and national offices in 2018, according to the nonprofit Emerge America, which trains women to run for office. While this echoes a national trend (the Black Women in Politics database lists 590 black female candidates across the country, 97 of them for federal seats), experts say the numbers in Alabama are particularly striking. From first-time hopefuls to seasoned veterans, twenty-somethings to sixty-somethings, women are lining up to disrupt the mostly white, mostly Republican old boys’ club in the state. (Only two black women are running as Republicans in Alabama this year, both for local seats, according to the state’s GOP office.) “African Americans are a quarter of the population here, yet they aren’t seeing their issues front and center,” says Rhonda Briggins, a co-founder of VoteRunLead and an Alabama native, “so they’ve decided to run themselves.”

Representative Terri Sewell, 53, who’s up for re-election this year, was the first black woman to represent Alabama in Congress when she was elected in 2011. “As a congressional intern during the late eighties, I remember walking the halls of the Capitol and not seeing many black women in any role, let alone as elected officials,” she says. “When I was first elected, making my voice heard as a black woman surrounded by older white men was a challenge. This year we’re proving the strength of our voice at the ballot box.”

Ironically, it was the election of a white guy—thanks to the record-breaking mobilization of black women—that motivated many of these candidates to jump into the race. “After so many black women carried Doug Jones over the threshold, I think more women across the state began to see our political power,” says Ashley Smith, 34, a Montgomery native running for district judge in Lowndes County.

Wendy Smooth, Ph.D., a political scientist at Ohio State University, agrees the high voter turnout in last December’s special election inspired black women candidates to tap into the political momentum. “There was this robust energy, and once energy like that has been released, it doesn’t go away,” she says. “And once women learn [how to] get a candidate elected into office, a lightbulb comes on and they say, ‘This isn’t that hard after all. I too can do this.’ ” But, she’s quick to point out, the uptick of black candidates in Alabama and beyond is not just reactionary. These candidates are building on a tradition of activism among black women that’s resulted in major social progress. They’ve done the work, using their coalition-based organizing methods, to fight voter suppression, help Barack Obama win the presidency, and change the game in the special elections. Running for political office is a key part of their strategy.

Briggins emphasizes that these women are making deliberate next steps in a larger blueprint for change, in both their communities and the country, noting how past seeds laid the groundwork for growth. “Women are primarily the workers behind the Alabama New South Coalition and Alabama Democratic Conference, organizations that, since the civil rights movement, have become the foundation of black political power in Alabama,” she says. Continue reading “Meet 18 Candidates Leading the Historic Rise of Black Women Running for Office in Alabama”

Black Women In Politics Database Could Help More Black Women Get Elected In 2018

25th January 1972: US Representative Shirley Chisholm of Brooklyn announces her entry for Democratic nomination for the presidency, at the Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York. Manhattan borough president Percy Sutton applauds at right. (Photo by Don Hogan Charles/New York Times Co./Getty Images)

by Princess-India Alexander via huffingtonpost.com

After one of the most contentious Senate races in recent memory, Democrat Doug Jones defeated opponent Roy Moore, who was accused of sexual misconduct by nine women, in Alabama’s special election in December. Black women were the ones to make it happen.

They out-voted all other demographics that day, with 98 percent of black women casting a vote for Jones. In contrast, 63 percent of white women who voted did so for Moore.

“America got one more confirmation that Black women are superheroes who save the day time and time again,” wrote Luvvie Ajayi, author of I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual on her blog after the election. “I am tired of the world being run into the ground by white men who prove time and time again that they are ill-equipped.”

Ajayi was inspired to find a list of black women politicians she could support. Not finding any, she enlisted the help of three friends to create Black Women in Politics, a living document of black female candidates seeking election in 2018. It’s now an online database that includes more than 400 names.

To start, Ajayi, along with friends Sili RecioLucrecer Braxton and Candace Jones, searched through Twitter mentions, polls and did some old-fashioned googling, gathering more than 100 names of women seeking election in 2018.

The list doubled in under a month, and its creators enlisted the help of a coder to help them turn it into a searchable database. They ultimately moved the database from Ajayi’s personal website to its own domain, blackwomeninpolitics.com.

Black women vote in higher numbers than any other demographic, yet are underrepresented in political positions of power. The site’s mission statement explains why the database is so crucial.

“There are Black women running for political office all over the United States, and we need to know who they are,” it reads. “It is abundantly clear that we need to start following the lead of Black women, because we show up and do what is important, even when we are being disenfranchised and sabotaged from doing the work.”

As of Jan. 25, the database has 414 entries. Visitors can filter the candidates by searching for women running for federal seats, state seats and local seats. They can also choose to view candidates running specifically in blue or red states. There’s a section detailing which candidates are incumbents and which are challengers, as well as a page where where users can suggest more politicians to be added.

The database includes a disclaimer noting it is not an endorsement of every woman running. “Think about it as a phone book,” the site states.