Women of color ran for congressional office in record numbers in 2020 following the successful 2018 “Year of the Women” midterm elections. According to the Center for American Women and Politics, Black women set a record with 117 candidates entering House primaries, demonstrating that Black women are leading change in our communities on every issue from the environment, to health care, to the concerns that disproportionately impact communities of color. With 27 Black women expected to lead in the 117th Congress, the legislative branch moves one step closer to representing the makeup of our nation. Although we have made progress in political representation, our work is far from over.
In the same year that we commemorated the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the 15th Amendment, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, and the 55th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisOn The Money: 12 million to lose federal unemployment benefits after Christmas | Warren urges Biden to cancel student debt | Stocks close with losses as states, cities reimpose COVID-19 restrictions OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight US is far from gender balance in politics despite record year for women candidates MORE (D-Calif.) became the first Black and South Asian woman to ascend to the vice presidency, making her the highest-ranking woman in politics. In her first remarks as vice president-elect, Harris emphatically proclaimed, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.” For Black women and girls everywhere, Vice President-elect Harris’s rise to the highest levels of government redefines the possibilities for women of color and broadens their horizons for political ambitions.
When Black women are at the table, the conversation changes on policies that impact our communities. As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, women of color, particularly Black women and Latinas, are disproportionately impacted by the economic crisis brought on by this pandemic, making it a “she-cession.” Furthermore, the spread of COVID-19 continues to exacerbate existing racial and economic inequalities impacting our most vulnerable communities. As the only Black woman in Michigan’s congressional delegation, I can tell you that representation matters when we are working to address this pandemic’s impact on our marginalized communities and how government can work for all of us.
Black women delivered the most significant victory in presidential politics, showing up and showing out for President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenManufacturers association calls on GSA to begin transition process Biden vote tally getting close to 80 million AOC, progressive Dems attack corporate greed during health care discussion MORE and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Yet, despite this, Black women remain underrepresented in elected office around the country. Black women make up nearly 7.6 percent of the U.S. population,