Editorial

EDITORIAL: Black Women Leaders are ‘Not Your Aunt Jemima!’

In less than two weeks, Democratic hopeful Joseph Biden will announce his choice, most likely a woman, to run with him on the Democratic ticket. It’s not the first time a woman was considered. Over the past 116 years, 10 women have reportedly made it onto the ballot as a VP nominee, which is far less than the women who’ve sought the U.S. presidency, including Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm who ran in 1972. Women listed among the vice presidential nominees have come from diverse backgrounds, including Charlotta Spears Bass, the first Black woman nominee for vice president in the U.S., who ran on the Progressive Party ticket in 1952. Others include LaDonna Harris, the first Native American woman nominee who ran on the Citizens Party ticket in 1980 and Emma Wong Mar, the first Asian American woman nominee, who ran on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket in 1984.

The list of potential women candidates is long, with an impressive number of Black women among those who voters are privately selecting as their choice and recommendation to Biden. Of the possible candidates named, in every interview they’ve given, they provided a unified conclusion that Biden is the person to beat Donald Trump in November, and, regardless of who is selected, they will support the party ticket to ensure Trump is defeated.

Yet, Black women are refusing to be disrespected. This week, a highly prestigious and representative group issued an Open Letter boldly denouncing Barry Presgraves, mayor of Luray, Virginia, for commenting on Facebook, “Joe Biden has just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick.”

“Barry, we are not your Aunt Jemima,” a list of more than 100 Black women leaders wrote.

“Make no mistake,” the letter went on, “we are servant leaders – motivated by a desire to uplift and advance our communities and nation. And we will not tolerate racist or sexist tropes consistently utilized in an effort to undermine our power!”

Please make no mistake about it. Black women have the power to birth, nurture and elect leaders. Let the record show how they plan to exercise their influence and power this November.

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