Black women leaders at DNC want to make a difference in politics
theGrio spoke exclusively with several Black women who are making an impact in the Black community and political sphere with their roles at the Democratic National Committee.
TheGrio spoke exclusively with several Black women who are making an impact in the Black community and political sphere with their roles at the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
For years, these women have been behind the scenes, serving as activists and community leaders who address issues plaguing the Black community.
Many of the DNC staffers told theGrio they felt an urgency to join the committee after seeing chaos unfold under the Trump Administration.
DNC Coalitions Manager Atoyia Deans said when former President Donald Trump put in his bid to run for re-election in 2020, she decided to leave her job as a photojournalist and join the DNC.
“The election of Donald Trump shocked me to my core…I thought by working at the DNC, I could play a role in helping to preserve democracy,” Deans told theGrio.
DNC Communications Outreach Director Danai Pointer said she was “drawn” to working for the committee because she wanted to help create a better political atmosphere for her daughter.
“In 2019, I had a daughter, and I really did not like where things were going under the Trump administration and, quite frankly, the right-wing and how radicalized it was becoming. So, I thought, what better way for me to be a positive part of that change by helping to elect President Biden,” she said.
Ebony Baylor, African-American political director and deputy director of coalitions and community engagement, told theGrio she joined the DNC because she believed if Trump were re-elected it would have “real” consequences for her.
“This election was going to impact my family, their livelihood, their existence. I wanted to make sure that they felt seen and heard and flourished. So being at the DNC gave me a seat at the table to help build programming that was going to resonate with our constituency and have authentic conversations as we’re building our campaigns,” Baylor said.
Pointer believes history has shown that “Black women are the backbone of the Democratic Party.”
“[Black women] are exceptional at what we do, and it’s a lot harder for us, I think, to reach these levels and be taken seriously in many cases and be validated. So, it is really important to be able to show voters that having Black women in powerful positions should be the norm,” she said.
Reyna Walters-Morgan, director of voter protection and civic engagement, told theGrio she left her career as a lawyer to pursue her passion in politics. She said in pursuit of landing her current position with the DNC, she faced a lot of challenges, including “getting a seat at the table.”
“And once you get to the table you have to make sure that you stay at the table and figure out the political nuances that sometimes come with that. I think that’s been one of the really amazing things about being at the DNC with amazing women who have been in the political game and gotten to be at a point where we can make an impact and make a difference,” Morgan said.
Brencia Berry, director of coalitions and community engagement, said the nation benefits when Black women are in powerful positions.
“The fact that we are just now experiencing our first Black [Asian Pacific Islander] woman vice president of the United States and the first Black woman of the Supreme Court after over 100 justices. That to me, is a testament of the exciting moment that we’re in, the progress that was made,” Brencia said.
She continued, “Historically those positions have not been filled with Black women…and so, it takes a lot of work to show up as a Black woman every day and to advocate for our communities.”
In 2020, the DNC was tasked with making sure voters elected President Joe Biden. In Feb. 2021, Biden’s overall approval rating was 86% amongst Black voters. A year later, that rating has dropped nearly 20%, according to a recent CBS News poll.
Some members of the Black community have criticized Biden and said he has done very little for African-Americans, however, some DNC staffers insisted to theGrio that the Biden Administration is making progress.
Pointer said, “Things aren’t perfect, however, the first thing that the President did [when he took office] was pass the American Rescue Plan, which got people back to work. That probably would not have happened as quickly as it did under our previous president. HBCUs and tribal colleges have received millions and millions of dollars in funding. The Justice Department has banned chokeholds and they limited no-knock warrants,” Pointer said.
Ofirah Yheskel, deputy director of communications, told theGrio the Biden Administration has made “a historic amount of progress…in such a short time” and that “there is still work that needs to be done.”
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