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.