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Bernie Sanders dropping out of the 2020 presidential race on Wednesday means the pressure is on for Joe Biden to pick a running mate as he nears towards the Democratic National Convention. Numerous progressive grassroots organizations like She The People, have called for him to choose a viable woman of color as a running mate.
However, choosing a woman of color, does not go far enough, prompting the group to hold a survey rating Black women who would be suitable candidates. We need a Black woman in the passenger seat of our country, to turn the head as the neck.
Black women are not only trendsetters in regards to our hair and “lewks,” we move the needle politically and are a viable force. We are the Democratic party’s most loyal voting block and it’s time they elevate us from the position of props. Just in the past four years Black women have turned the tide in a series of important elections. In 2017, Black women in Alabama came out to elect Senator Doug Jones with an overwhelming 98 percent of the vote. And in 2016, at 94 percent, we backed Hillary Clinton.
Both of these services were done for the greater good, even if the likelihood that we would see some semblance of salvation remained unverified. Black women are the central figures we encounter at our polling locations, out to engage and mobilize the vote. Black women have always done this, along with door to door service, but it’s time to consider our leadership seriously. With health disparities, environmental disruptions, the prison to school pipeline, and economic inequality at stake, we have less time to waste.
Several names of melanated candidates have been tossed around in regards to Joe Biden’s vice president position and there are a few Black women who are more than fit for the job.
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Stacey Abrams may have the least beltway experience than the other possible contenders, but her name in Washington is respected and sought after in regards to voter suppression, (which she experienced firsthand in the 2016 Georgia gubernatorial election), grassroots organizing and years of state legislation experience. She has also met with Biden privately on an occasion prior to his bid announcement. Abrams is a respected organizer and will use her past experience as the leader of the minority leader of the Georgia Assembly to help usher in a wave of progressive policies to help aid in the uplifting of Black women and men everywhere.
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Harris could use her time in the White House to help reverse the systemic criminal justice policies which routinely disproportionately affect Black men and women, along with other underserved populations. With her experience as the first Black person and first Black woman to hold the position of Attorney General of California and the first Black person elected as the state’s senator, means that Harris will have no issue transitioning to the main stage in Washington.
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Auntie Maxine, as we affectionately call her, may feel like a long shot to some, but hear this out. With over 30 years in Washington, and a chair position on the House Financial Services committee, Waters has the connections to mend and forge deals with members of Congress on both sides of the fence. The allocation of funds in Washington routinely support programs and policies which disenfranchise Black communities and Waters can play a crucial element in that reversal. She will undoubtedly have no issue keeping her detractors in check.
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Ayanna Pressley garnered national buzz when she made history as the first Black woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress. Then again as a member of the famed congressional “Squad.” But it was when she pushed women to unapologetically embrace who they were, by disclosing her personal battle with alopecia, that made a personal connection with her supporters. She expressed the night before she voted on the Articles of Impeachment against Trump, that the last of her hair fell out. She uses her personal battles and overcoming of numerous adversities, including her experience as a sexual assault survivor to enlighten with humanity, dignity and assurance.
It’s important to remember that whoever is chosen for the position will hold a force over our country’s legislative branch as president of the Senate.
Although Biden has a surplus of candidates to choose from, these women, before vice presidency was on the table, have gone above and beyond in their roles. They have dedicated their lives to this country and its people. Even when they are the only voice in the room, they choose to call things out, so we as a country can move toward greatness together.