Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, and Stacey Abrams, political and community activist. Photo provided
By Andria Y. Carter
Herald Media Consultant
Years from now when people reminisce about the year 2020, they will say it was the year Black women shook up America by stepping from the shadows and into the forefront of change. Black women have always been a stabilizing and supportive force behind many political and social actions over the last century, especially the Democratic party.
In the presidential election year, over 130 Black women filed to run for a congressional office across America, and three Black women are credited for shaking the tree of change and forcing the door of opportunity wide open. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, political activist Stacey Abrams, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms are credited for making crucial impacts in the State of Georgia and across America. More importantly, Black women can see themselves reflected in the leadership of the U.S. Government and their issues will addressed in a way it never has before.
During her acceptance speech, as the first Black and Indian-American woman elected as Vice President, harris told the nation and especially Black women, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
Across black news platforms, social media, and Zoom calls Harris, Abrams, and Bottoms are spotlighted for breaking barriers, and showing what Black excellence looks like having each been trained at a historical black college or HBCUs. Harris graduated from Howard University, Abrams from Spellman College, and Bottoms graduated from Florida A&M University (FAMU). HBCUs are known for their high standards of learning and demands of excellence of their students and of its faculty.
In a tweet made in October, Harris stated, “When you attend an HBCU, there is nothing you can’t do.”
That excellence was on display as Harris, Abrams, and Bottoms are credited for showing support for the former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and helping to build much needed momentum as Biden campaigned against President Donald Trump. Having won the landslide election, people of color having been marginalized for decades can now see themselves leading the nation on a national level and possibly more women will enter local, state, or national political races.
In an interview with ABC News, Glynda Carr, CEO and founder of Higher Heights, a political action committee formed to help Black women get elected, she noted that harris has changed how a person can campaign, being your authentic self in bringing multiple identities to a campaign. “That I think, will translate not only for future presidential and VP runs, but certainly I think how women will show up as candidates for local offices as well,” she said.
In many discussions across social media platforms, it has been noted that unlike social or political races of the past where men led the charge with women supporting, in 2020 women led many of the social actions that led to the protest held across the country and around the world regarding Black Lives Matter, and leading a number of political campaigns for local, state, and national offices.
Since the American Civil War, Black women have been involved in the political process and advocating for their community. Currently, Black women are underrepresented in the United States in both elected officials. The late Barbara Jordan said, “More is required of public officials than slogans and handshakes and press releases. More is required. We must hold ourselves strictly accountable. We must provide the people with a vision of the future.”
Stacey Abrams helped provided people in the State of Georgia as the vision of the future when she ran for governor in 2018. Although she lost the race, she did not lose her vision of a better future for Georgia. During her gubernatorial race, voter issues became a concern, so she formed Fair Fight and Freedom Works and began a voter registration effort in the state. She and her team are credited for registering 800,000 new voters in Georgia.
During a “Meet the Press” appearance on NBC, Abrams said she learned while growing up in Mississippi, that if she didn’t speak up for herself, no else would.”
Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, is also credited for encouraging Georgians and especially black women for getting out to vote. A staunch supporter for Joe Biden, Bottoms campaigned for Biden in Georgia and across the country. When interviewed by NewsOne, Bottoms stated she was proud of Harris’ election and how it speaks volumes about the importance of representation.
“Here we have an HBCU graduate, a very accomplished woman. It’s great for me to see it happen, but I’m also happy that my mother gets to see it, and my daughter gets to see it, because this is so much that so many generations have hoped for. it’s a great example for our children on what’s possible,” Bottoms told NewsOne.