When November 7th Comes, Will I take a Morning After Pill? A Perspective:
I am a Black female, born and raised, in Northern California.
Of late, with less than a week before the November 6th midterm elections, I’m imagining how I will feel on the day after, on November 7th, when election results have declared victors of hard fought campaigns--where millions upon millions of dollars have been spent, countless coffee klatches had, rallies attended, speeches given and innumerable flyers distributed--to shift the incendiary dynamics of this current political landscape.
When it comes to the 2018 midterm elections, we are feeling responsible and inspired. What matters today is that we realize our power and harness it for the betterment of our country.
The power of the Black female vote has been real and potent for as long as Black women have had the legal right to cast ballots; recently, this power has swung elections and been lifted up in media. We saw the difference in late 2017 when Alabama Democrat Doug Jones won a highly contested special election senate seat. Much of the press in response to Jones’s upset highlighted the need to give Black women due praise for their collective impact.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez referred to Black women as the “backbone” of the Democratic Party; Essence, Politico, and other major news outlets have recent features focused on the Black female voting bloc. Politico’s piece quotes Black female Georgia state representative and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams saying, “That’s the challenge we’ve seen in the Democratic Party. Black women are treated as monolithic, but then they receive underinvestment or very superficial investment.”
A few short months ago, I received a call from a colleague saying, “Whatever you’re doing change your plans. Stacey Abrams is speaking at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco this evening.” Hearing the excitement and urgency in her voice, I met my colleague there to hear Stacey Abrams speak. Following, I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Abrams and what I remember most--in addition to her kindness--is the confident assertion she made during her talk: “We must lose well.” I thought, ‘What is she talking about? I need us to WIN!’
Ms. Abrams went on to explain, that to her, losing well means staying in the fight, working across differences, and continuing to mobilize communities and individuals for the greater good. We will win some and lose some; we have to know how to prosper either way because the tides will continue to turn.
The evening concluded over a shared meal with my colleague who insisted I attend this event. At the end of dinner, newly elected Mayor London Breed and City Administrator Naomi Kelley passed us as they were exiting the restaurant. My colleague caught Mayor Breed’s eye and although coming off of a tough election and a working dinner meeting, she smiled, stopped, and greeted us, engaging my colleague in conversation.
Some weeks later, I crossed paths again with Naomi Kelly at a mayoral inauguration party. She was so kind and I was able to share with her how much I appreciate her leadership. I know what it takes for Black women and women of color to hold positions of authority, but, I cannot imagine the complexity of the navigation required to survive and thrive at that level, as these women do. All the while, they maintain a sense of grace and remain open.
Black women’s voices matter at the ballot box and at the policy-making table: before these midterm elections and certainly beyond November 7th. We believe that, with Black women in office, issues that affect Black women and Black families will no longer be ignored.
Moreover, the lives of those experiencing disenfranchisement improve when targeted efforts are made toward that end; the quality of life increases for all of us, regardless of our identity. From the days of Harriet Tubman and before, and into the present—when we have three Black women (Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi) to thank for the powerful Movement for Black Lives—the brave and brilliant efforts of Black women, the world over, have always been leveraged to bring all people closer to freedom.
Unlike the antagonistic and fear-based language and tactics that opponents of justice use in their campaign rhetoric, we know that those who work “for the people” to remedy injustices does lead to a better tomorrow for all.
Our vote and voice will matter on November 7th and beyond. I’m expecting a WIN for Stacey Abrams.
Precious J. Stroud, Founder, Black Female Project (www.blackfemaleproject.org)
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom; it is our duty to win.” - Assata Shakur