How Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Women Can Swing This Election.
Throughout our country’s history, women of color have been forgotten and overlooked. The suffrage movement focused on equality for white women. The American civil rights movement, while a crucial step forward, was largely based on a patriarchal model.
But times have changed.
BIPOC women have emerged as a key voting bloc and the backbone of the Democratic party– their collective clout never more evident than during this year’s Democratic primary and their overwhelming support of Joe Biden. And let’s not forget the 2018 midterm election when these committed voters helped elect five new women of color to the House of Representatives, contributing to the most diverse Congress in its history. Without their vote, Obama would not have won the White House in 2012.
“We are fighting for an unapologetic movement for economic, social, and racial justice in the United States”.– Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Yes, today’s BIPOC women have the power to swing elections and determine outcomes.
And make no mistake, these women are rightfully demanding returns on their voting investment, starting with their demand that Joe Biden nominate a woman of color as his vice-presidential running mate. In doing so, history was made. Kamala Harris is the first Black woman and the first Asian American to be nominated as vice president for a major political party.
“…We need more than a victory on November 3rd. We need a mandate that proves that the past few years do not represent who we are or who we aspire to be.”– Senator Kamala Harris
But despite recent gains, this is absolutely, positively no time for BIPOC women take things for granted. Any and all of the gains that have been made could be lost on November 3rd if President Trump and his enablers are reelected.
What do BIPOC women list as their key concerns going into this election?
“I needed to find my voice, I think, in order to live.”– Joy Harjo, the 1st Native American U.S. Poet Laureate
It’s easy to see how these critical issues intersect– how racial inequality affects one’s paycheck which affects the neighborhood one lives in, which affects access quality healthcare, good schools and affordable insurance. All of these inequities have been exacerbated by the pandemic which is raging through BIPOC communities. People of color, particularly black and indigenous women, are dying from COVID-19 at a disproportionate rate as they attempt to survive in a tragically broken system that ignores their needs.
“After an illness or a medical condition lands us in a doctor’s office or a hospital, our work, our focus, should be healing, not fighting the systemic mistreatment that threatens our very lives.”–Whitney, Patient, PhD candidate at an elite university
Politicians better listen up, because if they’re not addressing BIPOC women’s issues, they are not getting their vote.
The uprisings in cities across America this summer made it clear that millions of Americans are demanding leadership that will eliminate the toxic racism embedded deep within our nation’s systems. This includes investing in programs and plans that target racial inequality on all fronts including ending police violence, halting mass incarceration, protecting Social Security and closing racial gaps in jobs, wages and wealth– all while confronting the pandemic in a way that recognizes those communities that have been hardest hit.
Of course we have only to look at this summer’s protests to clarify the choice voters have in this election.
“George Floyd’s pleas awakened this world that has been rendered comatose by fear of contagion. All of a sudden nothing mattered but justice.”— Aysha Taryam, Editor in Chief, The Gulf Today
Trump has called the Black Lives Matter movement violent and dangerous and has sought to discredit it. This, despite the fact that the protests largely have consisted of people peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights.
“Activism is my rent for living on the planet.”– Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize Winning Novelist and Poet
Clearly, we need new leadership– and not only at the presidential and vice-presidential levels. It’s more important than ever to make House, Senate and gubernatorial gains as well. To do so, we need BIPOC women to gather their family, friends and neighbors and, once again, vote in full force. As President Obama said in a recent speech, “We can’t just imagine a better future; we’ve got to fight for it. We’ve got to out-hustle the other side. We’ve to out-work the other side. We’ve got to vote like never before…”
Swing it, ladies. The nation is counting on you.
“Join me as we right what is wrong and write the next chapter of history in our country. The fight of black women has always been fueled and grounded in faith and in the belief of what is possible.”–Kamala Harris
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