MadameNoire Featured Video

Ashley Allison

Source: Ashley Allison / President-elect Joe Biden’s National Coalitions Director

On November 7, four days after an anxiety inducing election, Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris took the stage in Delaware claiming victory, both thanking the millions of people who came together to forge a pathway to the White House.

“I am proud of the campaign we built and ran. I am proud of the coalition we put together, the broadest and most diverse in history,” Biden said shouting out the diverse collective of people who came together, bi-partisan voters, the LGBTQ community, Latino voters and Asian Americans.

“And especially for those moments when this campaign was at its lowest — the African-American community stood up again for me. They always have my back, and I’ll have yours,” Biden said.

“So, I’m thinking about her and about the generations of women — Black Women,” Harris said while recalling her mother’s memory.

“Asian, White, Latina, and Native American women throughout our nation’s history who have paved the way for this moment tonight,” she continued.

But who was behind this large scale effort of tapping into a diverse collective and what exactly does it entail? That job belonged to Ashley Allison, President-elect Joe Biden’s National Coalitions Director. With over 20 years of experience in coalition building and strategic planning, Allison brought her drive and perseverance to help usher the Biden-Harris campaign into victory. She also served as the executive vice president of campaigns and programs at The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights.

“I’m a Black woman and so I always center myself and the work, but over the course of my career, I‘ve always seen that more is possible when you work with others. And we are stronger together than we are in our own silos,” she told MadameNoire.

“The coalition department was an effort to make sure that all voters across this country felt like they had a space in this campaign. Whether they were a young person, someone who was LGBTQ, African-American, Latina, Latinx, Indigenous, a progressive voter, a teacher, a veteran, military family, we had over 20 coalitions where we developed programming to talk about what a Biden-Harris administration would do for them. And we ran that programming nationally with different virtual events.”

The Biden-Harris campaign launched a multi-faceted effort which included digital campaigns and conversations like Sister to Sister, media buys and on the ground activations to engage voters, working with thousands of organizations, influencers and stakeholders to lead the charge. In the 17 battleground states, a concentrated plan was made to reach out to marginalized  community members, much of which helped the Biden-Harris ticket secure the vote in areas like Michigan, Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Part of that included making sure the highly documented concerns of Black women were ot only acknowledged, but addressed through policy.

“When we look at Black women, this was one of the things that was really important for our work, when we rolled out a COVID-19 package, we wanted to make sure that all of our policies had a racial equity analysis,” said Allison.

The Biden-Harris administration has made promises to deliver on specific policy in terms of COVID-19 relief, policing and prison reform. Most of which were addressed through Biden’s Build Back Better plan.

“When we were developing those, we were going directly to groups…groups led by Black women and focus on Black women to say, tell us what you think should be in this policy. Let us know what will improve the lives of Black women. Because the best way to solve the problem is to go to the person who is proximate to the pain and they have the solutions. And that’s what we did and I know that’s what this administration will continue to do through the transition and when they take office.”

Allison said she cherished the environment because it was one that honored and respected the voices of Black women. Many of whom served important roles in the Biden-Harris campaign’s leadership team.

“I’ve always had the privilege of having strong Black women in my work environment and it’s a tell if there aren’t strong Black women in a work environment.” she said. “And I always look to see who are they putting in power and if there’s not a Black woman in the room, it makes me question what type of leader they are. But on this campaign, we had a voice, they cared about what we had to say, they didn’t take us for granted.”

While the Trump administration continues to muddle the transfer of power, Allison says she looks forward to Inauguration Day, where the new administration’s chance to make good on promises made during the campaign will finally be activated and actualized.

“On January 20th at noon, he [Biden] will begin to govern and he will govern for the entire country, even for those who did not vote for him,” said Allison. “Because we all are going through this COVID pandemic, we all are going through this economic crisis, we all are going through the climate crisis and we’re all going through the racial injustice that our country is facing. And he will be the person that I fundamentally believe, and Senator Harris — will be the people that can bring this country back together.”

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN