Rather than focus on recent violence that ravaged the nation’s capital, I’ll celebrate Black women! It would be easy to join with others who’re still attempting to provide an accurate explanation for the madness. To that subject, for the time being, I’ll only say that because of the current political climate and incessant cultural conflict, I became a sounding board for the expression of legitimate fears for the Inauguration Day safety of Vice President Kamala Harris.
While we were rightly concerned with the appropriate security being in place on Inauguration Day, contemporary social violence dictates that we must also be concerned about her safety every day thereafter, along with that of Mr. Biden. We must not, however, allow those concerns to overtake our excitement of the election of Harris and Biden.
We Black women know how hard we worked to make Kamala’s election a reality. The benefit of our effort accrued to Kamala and Joe equally. With respect to their present and future security, we must not allow our fears of what might happen overrule the exciting victory that we now experience. The important fact that must remain foremost in our minds is that we Black women have clear evidence of the positive results of our unity and common purpose. From many, we’ve heard laudatory acknowledgment of the exemplary role we’ve played in this most recent, and many other elections. As we congratulate our collective efforts and support the Biden-Harris administration, let us remember other Black women who did monumental things and are worthy of praise.
A person receiving great acclaim for her impact on the 2020 presidential election is Stacey Abrams, who came into national prominence during the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election. Unable to be acknowledged as winner by 55,000 votes because of an opponent who orchestrated and managed the alleged purge of 1.4 million voters, Stacey turned disappointment into action. She organized the voter rights organization, Fair Fight, undertook developing a network of attorneys to challenge specious changes to election laws and established voter education and registration initiatives which increased many African American voters and other voters of color. She organized a massive get-out-the-vote effort to strengthen her voter registration efforts. To the regret of many Republicans, she didn’t confine her efforts to the Georgia borders. Her efforts extended to jurisdictions which maintained the same type of legal and extra-legal obstacles that shut her out of the governor’s mansion. Stacey lit a metaphorical fuse that brought explosive excitement to 2020.
Another significant effort by a Black woman in 2020 was by LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund. Few need to be told about voter suppression in remote areas of the South. LaTosha and members of BVM addressed this problem by hitting the road in their campaign bus. Clocking thousands of miles, they crisscrossed highways throughout the south educating and registering voters who would’ve otherwise missed the opportunity to vote.
Looking forward, we can extend congratulations to the Black women who’ve been appointed to serve in the Biden-Harris administration. We must be equally proud of Marcia Fudge as secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Linda Thomas-Greenfield as ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice as leader of the Domestic Policy Council, Cecilia Rouse as chair of the Council of Economic Advisors and many others who’ll serve using the full measure of their skills and experience to “Build Back Better.” Let’s congratulate our sisters for preparing themselves for just such a time as this.
We know the truth, but few outside the “Beloved Community” will agree that throughout the history of our nation, Black people, especially Black women, have been found near the center of most struggles and most successes of our nation. Black women have never faltered in meeting our challenges.
Williams is president of the National Congress of Black Women.