August 2020 marks the unveiling of a monument in Central Park, NY to commemorate the ratification of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote in 1920. Unfortunately, Black women could not take part in this victory. Depending on who was leading the conversation about suffrage, Black women were not mentioned and simply forgotten. One of the 3 women memorialized in the monument, abolitionist and women’s rights advocate Sojourner Truth was only added after the murder of George Floyd. Sadly, but unsurprisingly 100 years later, Black women continue to be afterthoughts – ignored and in most instances, underestimated.
In the same month and year comes the historical nomination of Senator Kamala Harris to Vice President of the United States – a woman of Jamaican and Asian descent, daughter of activists, graduate of the esteemed HBCU Howard University, member of a historically Black sorority, former Attorney General of California, US Senator since 2017, accomplished, experienced, knowledgeable, no nonsense, not nasty, assertive, confident, role model and the list goes on and on. Do you hear and see women of color now?!
Senator Kamala Harris’s nomination is long overdue. A time when people who look like her are being killed by police and white civilians often without legal consequence. A time when Black people are suffering from the pandemic at disproportionate rates compared to whites. A time when just less than 4% of people of color make up the C-suite at Fortune 500 companies. A time when women are paid less than their male counterparts. A time when women of color are paid less than their white female counterparts. A time when racial, gender and financial inequity continues to unlevel the playing field.
Sisters, let us not suffer in silence! Black women cannot stand for being deemed invisible and irrelevant any longer. Let us be seen and heard by showing our power at the polls on Tuesday, November 3rd! Do it in honor and respect for Representative John Lewis, the conscience of Congress who was arrested over 40 times and beaten countlessly to gain the right to vote; for James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner murdered during Freedom Summer; for the marchers who for 3 days crossed from Selma to Montgomery via the Edmund Pettus Bridge and were viciously attacked on the aptly named Bloody Sunday; for the many others whose blood, sweat and tears led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.; for those who today are fighting to return the Act to its original glory after being ravished in 2013 by the Supreme Court. Do it for you, your family, your present and your future! Not voting is a vote for the other candidate.
Instead of mailing in your ballot, take it physically to the polling place. Faced with debilitating budget cuts, the US Postal Service, one of the oldest institutions in the country has been compromised and is unreliable. Carpool, walk, run or skip to the polling place. THROUGH HELL AND HIGH WATER, GET YOURSELF TO THE POLLS! Click here for a list of polling places by state. Click here to register to vote.
Abolitionist Sojourner Truth who is gone but should never be forgotten said it best in her “Ain’t I A Woman?” speech delivered in 1851 at the Women’s Rights Convention, “If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.” Yes, they better. VOTE!