As primary season comes to a close, leading to the ramp up for the general election in November, according to two very prominent political action groups devoted to building Black political power and diversity among candidates, found that Black women are running for congressional seats in vast and wide numbers.
A report from Reuters highlighted the many Black women who have chosen to use their voice and run in order for a more progressive America, pushing to eradicate systemic oppression, and inequities across health, economy and education. In congress Black women make up less than 5 percent of members in Congress.
The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), found that 122 Black or multi-racial Black women filed to run for congress this year, following a succession of important elections where Black women have continually moved forward to advocate for the betterment of our people. According to CAWP, the number has grown from 48 candidates in 2012.
To date, there are 60 Black women still in the race as primary season concludes, according to Collective PAC.
Among the candidates are, Joyce Elliott, an Arkansas state senator who is seeking a U.S. congressional seat in November, Pam Keith, a Navy veteran and attorney who is running in the Democratic primary for a Florida congressional seat, Patricia Timmons-Goodson, the first Black judge to serve on the state Supreme Court in North Carolina who is now running for congress and Jeannine Lee Lake, a former journalist who is running against Greg Pence, the brother of Vice President Mike Pence, for a congressional seat in Indiana.
There are also several prominent Black women incumbents like Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Rep. Lauren Underwood and Rep. Lucy McBath, who are up for re-election.
These women face similar and differing challenges in the road ahead as their districts continue to change shape, changing from red to blue or vice versa, the women are committed to the call.
“People are becoming more comfortable with seeing different kinds of people in Congress. You don’t know what it looks like to have powerful Black women in Congress until you see powerful Black women in Congress,” said Keith.
While Black women make up on 8 percent of the U.S. population, they make up the vast majority of an active and reliable voting block, and have been doing so for over the last 50 years, when Black women were guaranteed the right to vote under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Coupled with several particular challenges that face Black women, including the maternal mortality rate, intimate partner violence, the disciplining of Black girls in schools compared to their peers and the ongoing pandemic, Black women need a voice to lean on when it comes to who represents them politically.
“We need to have more people, average, everyday American citizens who are there fighting for average, everyday American citizens,” said Tiffany Walker, a veteran and former corrections officer who is running for a congressional seat in Florida.