YOU’RE WELCOME, NOW ELECT US: 4 Ways to Support Black Women in Politics

Image via Flickr
“It’s one thing to acknowledge the centrality of African-American women as the wheels of our political moment, it’s another to put them in the driver’s seat.” — Kimberlé Crenshaw

After 98% of Black women voters in Alabama’s senate election last year “saved us” from a rabid white supremacist pedophile, news and social media feeds responded with a resounding “THANK YOU.”

But it’s not the job of Black women to “save” white people. And those “Thank You, Black Women” memes are meaningless unless backed by financially supporting Black women in politics and voting us into office. White people and non-Black people of color must do more than say “thank you” with a smiley emoji (or some other trite gesture). If we are to uplift all communities, we have to envision the leadership most capable of doing that. History is clear. When Black women win political power, we enact policies that uplift all marginalized communities since we have the most to lose when our civil liberties are at stake. Black women are the most likely to vote in each election and have a long history of fighting for civil rights, always putting in the work despite the historical erasure of our political activism.

We have an opportunity and a responsibility to do more than sigh with relief or express gratitude on our social media feeds every time Black women voters save an election. Saying “thank you” is a good start, but it is not nearly enough. We need to give back and invest in the future of Black women leadership by supporting our political representation in local, state, and federal elections. As Aimee Allison, president of Democracy in Color says, “Stop thanking us and start electing us.”

In honor of Black History Month, here are 4 ways to do more than just thank Black women for making history.

#1. VOTE US INTO OFFICE.

  • Go to the database of Black women running for office here.Then click on your state to learn about each candidate and donate to their campaigns. Support your local candidate by volunteering and fundraising for them.
  • Check out Higher Heights’ spotlight on Black women’s political power and leadership on their Sistas to Watch page and consider hosting a “salon.” Higher Heights has salon suggestions and a toolkit for supporting Black women’s perspectives, concerns, and discussions about leadership potential.
  • Follow the women endorsed by Collective Pac, an organization that recruits, trains, and funds progressive Black candidates.

#2. BLACK WOMEN ARE A POLITICAL FORCE. SUPPORT OUR LEADERSHIP.

Infographic by Rutgers: Center for American Women and Politics

#3. RUN FOR OFFICE.

  • Get trained. Higher Heights is focused on Black women’s political power and leadership potential and can help prepare you to run for office with their Run to Win training. Training topics include Campaign Management, Grassroots Organizing, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship. Sign up for alerts to upcoming registration deadlines.
  • Hire IMPACT Strategies, a firm that is Black women-owned and led by Angela Rye, a political strategist specializing in social media, policy, political advocacy, branding, and business development.

#4. DONATE TO BLACK WOMEN-RUN POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS.

“Bet on Black women. Follow Black women. Give power to Black women.” -Angela Peoples
  • Higher Heights for America is an organization founded by Glynda C. Carr and Kimberly Peeler-Allen that addresses the Black women leadership gap in elected offices. The organization offers trainings by and for Black women on how to win elections and thrive while in office. They also mobilize voters to elect Black women to local, state, and national positions. Follow on Facebook and Twitter. Donate here.
  • Black Lives Matter is a movement started by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi in 2013. BLM is a force for organizing collective response to violence toward Black people, whether this violence is from the state or individuals. BLM also empowers communities through organizing and the support of those who wish to become leaders in the movement. Follow on Facebook and Twitter. Find your local BLM chapter here and donate to them directly.
  • Black Girls Vote was created in 2015 by Nykidra “Nyki” Robinson. The mission of BGV is to use voter mobilization and leadership development so that the priorities of Black women and girls are represented in the political process. BGV has an ambassador program that trains women to be involved at the local, state, and national levels. Follow on Facebook and Twitter. Donate here.
  • BYP100 is a national organization led by Charlene Carruthers, with chapters across the U.S., that specifically seeks to empower Black activists and organizers who are 18–35 years old. BYP100 conducts field organizing, leadership development, and promotes specific policies that will improve conditions and opportunities for Black youth and their communities. Follow on Facebook and Twitter. Donate here.

This is the first in a series of action calls for this year’s Black History Month. You can financially support our work at paypal.me/SolidarityWOC.