Black women are running for office nationwide in large numbers—yet according to new reports, many of them feel that they are being ignored by the Democratic party.
Forty-three Black female Democrats have put their hats in the political ring as challengers for U.S. House seats. But only one of these candidates — Lauren Underwood, who is running for Congress to represent Illinois’ 14th district — has been endorsed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Axios reported. The party’s dismal investment in Black women is certainly disappointing, sending a message that they have to keep proving themselves despite their impressive track record as voters.
Voters can’t forget that Black women helped to secure Stacey Abrams’ Georgia gubernatorial primary on May 22 and Doug Jones‘ Alabama Senator win last December. Ninety-eight percent of Black women voted for Jones, according to The Conversation. Abrams secured 76.5 percent, or 423,163 votes, after more than 150,000 Black women cast their votes, according to a news release. Where’s the R-E-S-P-E-C-T?
It’s clear that Black women have frequently been overlooked and often do not have institutional support. There are currently only 19 Black women serving in Congress, with many candidates feeling like groups including the Democratic National Committee and the DCCC have forgotten them. Case in point: the Congressional Black Caucus’ backing of Michael Capuano, Massachusetts’ 7th district Democratic incumbent, over challenger Ayanna Pressley, the first Black women elected to the Boston City Council. Capuano’s endorsement drew criticism from other prominent Black women.
“I did not support this endorsement,” Daria Dawson, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee (CBC PAC) board, said to Buzzfeed. “As a Black woman who has been involved in politics for over a decade, it saddens me that a viable candidate such as Ayanna Pressley has not received the backing of prominent elected officials or from institutions associated with those elected officials. At this time when electing more women and candidates of color would be the key for Democrats to win back Congress, I would hope that there are more candidates of Ms. Pressley’s caliber on the ballot, and that full consideration will be given to her candidacy.”
The widespread move to pull support from some Black women candidates shows there’s a battle brewing between those who seek to “increase the number of African Americans in Congress” and those who “support non-Black candidates that champion Black interests,” sources told Buzzfeed. However, despite the drama, #BlackWomenLead and #TrustBlackWomen campaigns are fighting for Black women to have “representative power in politics commensurate with their voting power. ” Perhaps these campaigns are the silver lining in this dark cloud of waning Democratic support.