Tuesday, Nov. 3 was one of the most consequential elections for African Americans since 1876 when Democrat Rutherford Hayes was awarded the presidency in what is now called The Compromise of 1877 which ushered in the Jim Crow Era.
As in the past, Black women carried the Democratic Party over the finish line by voting 91% for the Biden/Harris ticket.
Black women understood what was at risk with a second Donald Trump term. As Barack Obama stated, Donald Trump is an existential threat to democracy and, in particular, to the lives of Black people.
An estimated 160-million votes were cast in this election cycle. Along with Black women, 80% of Black men, Latinx, Native Americans and Asian American were instrumental in guaranteeing President-Elect Biden the White House. In Arizona, The Navajo Nation traveled two-hours by horseback to vote, with a 97% participation.
The 15th Amendment was passed 150 years ago. It guaranteed only men the right to vote. Fifty years later, the 19th Amendment was passed, but only white women won the right to vote. It was another 55-years, with the passing of the Voting Rights Act before Black women won the right to the franchise.
Black women never quit or gave-up. When Stacey Abrams loss the election for the governorship in Georgia by 1.5%, to a Secretary of State that engaged in voter suppression, making it harder for African Americans to vote, she refused to take the loss lying down.
Her two organizations, Fair Fight and New Georgia Project registered 800,000 new voters. Stacey, along with a crew of other bad-ass women, turned Georgia Blue by engaging new voters and protecting their access to the polls. They increased Georgia’s voter turnout among Black, Latinx and Asian-American voters.
The DNC used Stacey’s strategy by making a major effort to counter voter suppression by arming voters with information on how to request a provisional ballot and by filing lawsuits against Republicans who attempted to disenfranchise African American communities. Biden, Harris and even Barack Obama made campaign stops in Georgia, recognizing the possibility of winning the state.
Not only did Georgia vote Democratic for the first time since Bill Clinton, the likelihood of taking control of the Senate is in the realm of possibility. Both of Georgia’s two Senate seats are heading to a runoff in January.
This election was not only about returning a sense of decency and humanity to the people’s house, but it was historical. For the first time in this nation’s history, a woman will be the vice president of the United States. As VP-Elect Harris said on Saturday night, while she may be the first woman to hold this office, she will not be the last. She told young girls, “Dream with ambition, lead with conviction and see yourself as others may have never seen you before.”
Kamala is a graduate of Howard University, a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and a Black woman of Jamaican and South Asian descent. She brings a perspective to the White House that has never been represented before. Representation matters, and society benefits with diverse leadership.
Black women are not asking for applause, but for policies that will bring equity and fairness to our communities. We expect this administration to enact policies for equitable pay, housing, health and racial justice. We expect policies that will remove discrimination in policing, protect the rights of LGBTQ and fix the horrible immigration policies of the last administration.
We expect this administration to be intentional about fighting the coronavirus pandemic, and again allow the doctors and scientist to lead the charge. We expect this administration to bring us a little closer to the ideal of a more perfect union.
I am proud to be a Black woman, and I’m even prouder, that We Had Our Say!