Politics It's past time we elect a Black woman governor
Women of color eye historic firsts in races for mayor, governor, US Senate
The nationwide movement for racial justice has galvanized women of color chasing political firsts in state and local races from Seattle to Richmond, Virginia, to Boston. So far this year they have broken barriers to the vice presidency and the halls of Congress, where a record 49 women of color are lawmakers. Sights are now set on big city mayorships, governorships and U.S. Senate seats where no woman of color has served before.
Following the 2020 election, social media was brimming with hundreds of messages paying homage to Black women for theirin delivering the White House for Democrats. Posts demanding that we Black women were retweeted thousands of times as people affirmed that Black women had once again saved democracy.
But in the wake of all the celebration and the recognition of Black women's power as voters and organizers, it was difficult to reconcile that this familiar enthusiasm would once again fail to translate into greater representation for Black women in elected office. Last week, we saw this play out again when former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (D) and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond)to be Virginia's next governor.
McAuliffe Has the Democratic Primary Locked Up in Virginia’s Gubernatorial Race
The former governor has a substantial edge over his competitors in both name recognition and fundraising.Youngkin is a long-time businessman who early last month defeated six other GOP primary candidates in the Republican convention. This election cycle, the party chose to host a convention rather than a traditional primary, likely an effort to avoid the past mistake of ending up with a divisive candidate chosen by a plurality of the state’s most invested Republicans.
Black women remainat every level of government but particularly in executive positions like governor. While Kamala Harris made history in 2020 as the nation's first woman vice president, in our nation's 244-year history as governor. In fact, just 10 have ever served in a statewide office. Starting in 2018, when in Georgia, to this year when Carroll Foy and McClellan gained incredible momentum in the country's most high profile race, Black women have been stepping up to pave a way and finally make history. However, all this momentum has yet to result in a decisive win at the executive level. Instead, our ambition for such executive roles continues to be met with suspicion and downright incredulity.
Virginia set to elect first female lt. governor after Ayala wins Democratic nod
Virginia voters will decide between a pair of path-breakers when they elect a new lieutenant governor in November after both Democrats and Republicans nominated candidates who would be the first woman to hold the state’s No. 2 job.Prince William County Del. Hala Ayala (D) won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor on Tuesday, beating out a field of five other Democratic contenders, including two fellow delegates and a Norfolk city councilwoman to claim the nomination.
The time has come for that to change but the burden should not be on Black women. The question is not whether Black women are qualified enough to hold the office of governor. It is whether we are willing to both abandon the structures that deem them "unfit" for executive office and build new systems of support and affirmation.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) frequently states that theshould be the ones shaping the policy. As Black women, we often live at the intersection of the greatest that exist in American society including racism, sexism and economic and political disenfranchisement. When we run for office, it's because we recognize that people will continue to suffer unless new perspectives are represented at the table. Even before we declare our intent to run, many of us have already been active in our communities and led substantive movements for change. Despite this, the myth persists that not only can Black women at the highest levels of politics, but also that they can only win in places where most of the voters look like them.
Andrew Cuomo’s unlikely online fan base: Women have rallied to his defense by the thousands
Inside the Facebook group that still loves New York's embattled governor, and is pushing back against his accusers New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference on May 10, 2021 in New York City.
Black women are proven leaders who have, in many cases, helped fill a void in leadership. Last year, women like San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D)to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was among the first elected officials to order life-saving protocols like stay-at-home orders. In response to the uprisings over the police killings of Black Americans, Colorado state Rep. Leslie Herod (D) spearheaded efforts in the state legislature to bill that would increase accountability. And in Massachusetts, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins emergency protective orders to victims of domestic violence who had become trapped due to stay-at-home orders necessary to keep us safe from the spread of the virus.
Black women are also on the forefront of the ongoing fight to ensure that our country lives up to its democratic ideals. After losing her race in 2018, Abrams launched a new voting rights groupto defeat the very forces that caused her to lose in the first place. She and dozens of Black women organizers across the South elevated the issue of voter suppression nationally and their efforts paid off. Georgia flipped blue for the first time in 30 years, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris won the White House and Democrats took control of the U.S. Senate. Black women have long been putting in the work and if that doesn't make us qualified to lead, I'm not sure what does.
A year of lake dives, whale swallows lobsterman, hitting the trails: News from around our 50 states
Idaho woman’s home plundered during pandemic-extended trip, Nebraska gathering offers chance to shoot ‘zombies,’ and moreStart the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.
As we look towards the next election cycle,to run for key statewide offices including the U.S. Senate and that of governor. Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) is incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and in North Carolina, former chief justice of the state supreme court, Cheri Beasley, her bid for senator.
Over the next year-and-a-half,and Black women are already starting to emerge as candidates to watch. There is already plenty of excitement for a possible comeback from Abrams in Georgia, and in South Carolina, state Sen. Mia McCleod (D) is making history as the first Black woman to seek the governorship there. The number of Black women on the ballot will likely exceed the record-breaking number who ran in 2020 so we have an opportunity and responsibility to set them up for success.
The Democratic Party only stands to gain more power and electoral influence if they make the necessary investments in Black women candidates. In regions of the country previously deemed unwinnable, like the South, states have become battlegrounds ripe for new leadership.that by increasing the number of Black women on the ballot, these candidates can build key coalitions of voters to help the party win.
This country has long relied on the power of Black women to move it forward. Equal representation at every level of government is the least we deserve.
A'shanti F. Gholar is the president of, which recruits and trains Democratic women who want to run for office.
Slavery reckonings, Radio City’s return, marijuana movements: News from around our 50 states .
Connecticut first to make prison phone calls free, Louisiana protects its iconic bald cypress trees, and moreStart the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.