Black political wins we’re still celebrating that gave us hope this election
As many relish in the election of President-elect Joe Biden, let us also celebrate #BlackPoliticalWins2020.
In the middle of two public health pandemics this year — both COVID-19 and death by the hands of police officers — sympathetic white folks listened to podcasts, watched talk shows that featured Black scholars and put Black writers on the top of every bestseller list in the country.
All of this performative progress only to find out in November that they still voted for Trump. I am sure many of them enjoyed the moment to grab the perfect Instagram photo, Twitter header, or even add a cultural hashtag to their bio, but we need folks who will do the work and not just talk about it. We need our own people.
Thankfully, we have hope. In 1993, Poet Lucille Clifton penned “won’t you celebrate with me/what I have shaped into a kind of life?/I had no model/come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed.”
As we relish in the election of President-elect Joe Biden, let us also celebrate the Black political wins of the 2020 general election. These Black politicians, some newly elected, are doing work in the trenches to forge our freedom in this nation.
We celebrate their wins and their tenacity to fight for a more perfect union for us all.
Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States
Read her name and title again. And again. Let us celebrate the first Black woman vice president of the United States, a graduate of Howard University and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. As a former United States Senator, representing California since 2017, she gives hope to Black women and girls — Black folx of all types. A Black woman is sitting in power, her rightful place. We celebrate Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Cori Bush, US House Missouri District 1
I do not believe there could be any better addition to the U.S. House of Representatives than newly-elected Representative Cori Bush. What better way to represent the people of Missouri than a Black woman who fought tirelessly for justice for Michael Brown after he was murdered by police in 2014. A champion for the people, Representative-elect Bush is a nurse, a pastor, an organizer, and a fighter. She is not new to the political arena as she has vied for positions in Congress and the Senate before, but this time is different. She is now the first Black woman to serve in Congress in the state of Missouri, but she gives hope to all of us across America.
In spite of the attacks from right-winged politicians, “The Squad” stands stronger than ever with all four members celebrating reelection. We have all come to love them as they have vocally and politically stood their ground for the past two years, proving that the voices, perspectives, and gall of women of color are needed in the U.S. House of Representatives. With the addition of Rep. Cori Bush, “The Squad,” consists of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Rashida Tlaib (Michigan), and Ayanna Presley (Massachusetts).
With accolades such as the youngest woman elected to Congress in U.S. history (AOC), the first Palestinian-American (Tlaib), the first Black woman to represent Massachusetts (Pressley), and the first Somali-American member of Congress (Omar), these four women have progressed our nation as they took on policy issues that many did not have the language or the range to tackle. We celebrate Representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib, and Presley.
Openly gay members of US Congress
Ritchie Torres, representing the Bronx, and Mondaire Jones, representing Westchester and Rockland counties are leading the country as the first Black and Afro-Latino, openly gay members of the US Congress. While we know that their politics are progressive and that they represent the people of low-income, marginalized communities, it is their tenacity to mobilize and to gain access to systems that were not designed for them that we celebrate today and forevermore. These men have now created an unspoken pipeline to power for people who look like them and identify as LGBT+. There are Black boys and men who can now see themselves as U.S. Congressmen and as openly LGBT+. For that, we celebrate Representatives-elect Torres and Jones.
Stacey Abrams, Relentless political leader
Despite the Georgia gubernatorial race being stolen from her in 2018, Stacey Abrams has been the most relentless fighter for freedom in the state of Georgia (and most likely, in the United States). Founder of New Georgia Project and Fair Fight, nonpartisan efforts to register Georgia citizens as voters, Abrams has worked with a consortium of organizations to secure 800,000 newly registered Georgia voters since 2014. Even more impressively, 45% of the newly registered voters are under the age of 30 and 49% are people of color, two factors we have seen proven to vote for the progressive change this country needs. We celebrate Stacey Abrams.
As a community, we know that there are so many of us to celebrate. The people named above are only the very tip of the iceberg. There are people on the local levels that are working to sink the proverbial Titanic we know as all of the unjust policies and systems in the United States.
I challenge every reader to find the local Black politicians that are creating change in their communities and celebrate them. Utilize the hashtag #BlackPoliticalWins2020 on all social media platforms and share with us their name, political office, and a picture, if possible. We want to celebrate everyone and we can only do so with the help of the community.
To help you get started, here are the names and political offices of some of the #BlackPoliticalWins2020 across the nation. Say their names while they are alive and doing the work necessary to make this nation one that is safe and welcoming for all.
- Mauree Turner — First Nonbinary and First Muslim State House Representative (Oklahoma)
- Karen Watkins — School Board Member (Gwinnett County, Ga)
- Tarece Johnson — School Board Member (Gwinnett County, Ga)
- Travis McCurdy — House Representative (Florida, District 46)
- Michele Rayner — One of the First Openly LGBT+ Women of Color – House Representative (Florida, District 70)
- Fentrice Driskell — House Representative (Florida, District 63)
- Brianna Henries — First Native American Woman Elected to Rhode Island General Assembly – House Representative (Rhode Island, District 64)
- Kimberly-Ann Collins — House Representative (Missouri, District 77)
- Aurora Martinez Jones — Texas State Court (Texas, 126th District Judge)
- Marie Pinkney — State Senator (Delaware, District 13)
- Dotie Joseph — House Representative (Florida, District 108)
- Nancy Metayer — Commissioner (Coral Springs, Florida)
- Torrey Harris — House Representative (Tennessee, District 90)
Thank you to “Run For Something” for providing a space for many of the above-named candidates to be supported and amplified. Run For Something is an organization dedicated to strengthening the Democratic power by recruiting and supporting young, progressive Democratic candidates for down-ballot offices.
Dr. Michael Jamal (MJ) Seaberry is a Metro Atlanta-based secondary science teacher, researcher, activist, and curator of all things concerning the liberation of Black people. Follow him on Twitter.
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