When the polls closed last week following the general election for the next U.S. President, three things were made perfectly clear, at least for most, excluding Donald Trump. First, the record-breaking turnout demonstrated that democracy is not dead in America and that the right candidate, with the right message, can win with the right support for those who believe it. Second, America’s system of democracy works despite a weak postal system, a hodgepodge of voting procedures from one state to another, and despite a pandemic. The promise that every vote cast was, no matter how early or up to the latest deadline, and in some cases, is still being counted. And, as the nation watches day after day, they are seeing how much their vote matters.
Third, and the most important, is the result of last week’s vote and the undeniably impactful, influential, pivotal and decisive role Black women played in getting out the historic vote in 2020. From the moment President-elect Biden won the nomination of the Democratic Party on Aug. 20, Black women organized to lay the groundwork for a woman to be named VP. Thousands signed petitions to make their wishes, or better yet, their demands heard. They were clear that there were plenty of well-qualified women to fill the seat, but that a Black woman should be given the opportunity, and a Black woman should be selected. Sen. Kamala Harris was Biden’s choice, and Black women celebrated although briefly before working to ensure victory in November.
There were many foot soldiers in the Black women’s movement, including Stacy Abrams, a voting rights activist, who spent little time licking her wounds following her loss in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race. She founded Fair Fight Action and crisscrossed the country to fight voter suppression wherever it was happening. Every Black sorority galvanized its forces to activate Black voters, and Black women elected officials harnessed the spotlight wherever they could to get all voters to the polls. Young Black female college students engaged, and women whose grandmothers and great grandmothers rocked white babies went to the polls to elect a Black woman to help lead the country.
Vice President-elect Harris said she may be the first, but she won’t be the last. And, President-elect Biden said he’ll “be with us,” as we have always been there for him. Biden and all of America must realize that Black women — the Democrats’ silver bullet — have good memories. They won’t forget what they did to win this election and what must be done for them.