POWER PLAYERS | How Rev. Wendy Hamilton helps Andrew Yang reach Black voters
Rev. Hamilton recognizes the unique position she is in to serve as both a minister and a Black woman.
As a minister, counselor, mother and friend, working with purpose is one of the foundational tenets of Reverend Wendy Hamilton’s life. When the Ohio native went off to college to study at Howard University, she majored in human development and early childhood education to support that mission. But Wendy quickly got swept up in the political halo surrounding D.C.
In 2018, Rev. Hamilton stumbled upon a sweet spot where politics and compassion merge when she joined Andrew Yang’s team as he vies to become the next president of the United States.
Rev. Hamilton became a Yang supporter after she read an article the candidate penned for The New York Times called “The Robots Are Coming.” Yang spoke about the consequences of automation and its impact on job opportunities. Rev. Hamilton was personally moved by Yang’s passion for disadvantaged communities and his solutions for economic equality. In his piece, Yang proposed the idea of universal basic income, which would give every American a thousand dollars a month.
“That hit home right away with me, because all I could think about was my grandmother, who worked in the shoe factory in Portsmouth, Ohio, and my grandfather and how their jobs got automated away or shipped overseas,” Wendy told theGrio.
“They had nothing to fall back on, nor did they have a fallback plan. And so in that article introducing Andrew, Andrew was talking about we need to do something to help people, give them a lifeline”
Rev. Hamilton voluntarily advocated for Yang in faith-based communities before being appointed as the Director of Spiritual and Cultural Outreach for his staff.
Prior to working with a politician as liberal as Yang, Rev. Hamilton worked for conservative political figures in Ohio, initially believing their views were more aligned with Christian values.
“This was when George Bush and Al Gore were running against one another. And as a Christian, the pastor said, you need to look at those that are speaking Christian language and from a Christian platform,” Rev. Hamilton explained.
“And at that time, what I was hearing from George Bush sounded more familiar in terms of scriptural comments and references, more so than Al Gore. So at that time, I decided I would try to help George Bush, because my understanding at that time was Christians are supposed to follow the Christian candidate.”
But when Rev. Hamilton briefly left politics to attend seminary school, the course of her political career completely shifted.
“I recognize that maybe I was maybe more Democratic than I was Republican. And it was around that time that Obama started coming on the scene. And I went out and volunteered to help him and have found more comfort and found much more of a personal home with the Democratic Party and ideology. “
Now on the campaign trail for Democratic candidate Andrew Yang, Rev. Hamilton recognizes the unique position she is in to serve as both a minister and a Black woman.
“Any politician who knows their worth knows that unless they’ve been validated or accepted or invited into the Black church community, they’re going to have a really tough time gaining the trust of the African-American community. And so the Black church is vital in the political arena,” Rev. Hamilton said.