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  • Writer's pictureR.M. Powell-Dennis

The Path to Equality is Paved by Electoral Victories for Black Women

Dismantling white supremacy means electing Black women. That is why Ruby Powell-Dennis of Memphis, Tennessee founded Elect Black Women PAC in August of 2020.

Elect Black Women PAC launched and got right to work. Election day was around the corner. While you might not have heard much about the PAC yet, you will hear a lot from us in the coming months and years. Stacey Abrams proved that Black female voices and Black female leadership are necessary to preserve and protect America’s Democracy.

Black women do not have the same access to support and resources as other candidates, especially white, male candidates who make up the majority of elected officials at all level of government. Elect Black Women Pac’s mission is to provide resources and financial support to Black women candidates that will give them a competitive edge on the campaign trail.

Less than five percent of elected office holders are filled by Black women. No Black woman has ever been elected to serve as governor. There are no Black women currently serving in the U.S. Senate. Vice President Kamala Harris is only the third Black woman to compete for a major party’s presidential nomination.

“I am proud to be the first Black woman mayor of a major U.S. city, but will be even prouder when our elected officials across levels of office better reflect the constituencies they serve.” – Lottie Shackelford, former Mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas.

The path to equality is paved by electoral victories for Black women. In 2017, more than 2-dozen Black women activists, community officials, and elected leaders signed a letter to Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Tom Perez called on the Democratic Party to do better when it came to engaging, including, and supporting Black women in organizing priorities and organizational agenda-setting.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 13.4 percent of the U.S. population is Black. And yet, Black voices, especially Black women’s voices are missing at tables where decisions are made. This disparity is why Elect Black Women PAC got to right work without fanfare, but with time-tested grit and determination. Black women know how to win.

The first woman Elect Black Women PAC endorsed was Civil Miller-Watkins who ran for Tennessee State Senate. Miller-Watkins was a previously elected local office official. Though she didn’t win her race, seeds were planted, and Miller-Watkins will continue to serve as an Elect Black Women PAC Ambassador. Miller-Watkins also went on to run for Chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party in 2021, using her voice to remind Tennessee Democrats that Black women are a vital part of the Party who should have a seat at the decision-making table.

Nearly 53 years ago, Shirley Chisholm was the first Black woman elected to Congress. Over half a half century later, 57 or 10.7 percent of the 117th Congress are Black. Only 26 or 4.9 percent are Black women.

To dismantle white supremacy, America must elect Black women. The Democratic Party must recruit and support Black women candidates.

Moving into 2021, Elect Black Women PAC is excited to launch our podcast, The Future is Full of Second Chances. And we’ve set a goal to endorse and support 50 Black women candidates running for office up and down the ballot in 2021.

If you are a Black woman candidate running for office in 2021 or 2022, apply for an endorsement from Elect Black Women PAC.

Why do endorsements matter? Elect Black Women PAC has the tools and resources to amplify a Black female candidate’s voice. We want to partner with you to get you elected. If you are considering running for office, let Elect Black Women PAC be the first to tell you that you should do it. Your voice and your lived experiences are missing from the table and are vital to creating equitable policies.

Equal representation won’t happen overnight, but it will happen because we got to work today.

Follow Elect Black Women PAC on social media at @ElectBlackWomenPAC.


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