Kamala Harris has officially made history by becoming the first Black Vice President-elect of the United States. Her triumph signifies progress for historically underrepresented and disenfranchised groups who have been far too long excluded from the political table. Harris stands on the shoulders of Black women throughout history who have relentlessly fought for political rights. The Howard University graduate’s feat was also made possible by the perseverance of fellow HBCU alumnae who unwaveringly worked to tip the scale towards change.
Among the women who led the charge was political powerhouse Stacey Abrams. The Spelman College alumna—who was a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 2018—has put in years of work when it comes to getting out the vote in the state of Georgia and was instrumental in turning the swing state blue. Abrams has put the focus on combatting voter suppression and has been dedicated to ensuring that individuals are equipped with the tools and resources needed to exercise their right to vote through the creation of her national voting rights organization Fair Fight. Abrams’ efforts and those of others who have led grassroots initiatives collectively made history. The state of Georgia has not been won by a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton 28 years ago.
Another HBCU alumna who played a significant role in increasing votership in Georgia is Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Aside from leading civic engagement efforts in the state, the Florida A&M University grad campaigned with Joe Biden across the country and made her presence felt in areas where his campaign lacked including New Hampshire, Houston, and Iowa. She continually used her platform as an avenue to encourage folks to get to the polls. When asked about Harris’ victory, Bottoms says it speaks volumes about the importance of representation. “It gives me so much pride,” she said in a statement. “In every conversation I’ve had with Joe Biden he talked about wanting his ticket and his administration to reflect the diversity of Americans and represent who we are. Here we have an HBCU graduate, a very accomplished woman. It’s great for me to see it happen, but I’m also happy that my mother gets to see it, and my daughter gets to see it, because this is so much that so many generations have hoped for. It’s a great example for our children on what’s possible.”
Black women have been leading the fight for change on multiple fronts in Georgia. As Mary-Pat Hector mentioned on Twitter, the phenomenal women leading grassroots efforts deserve their roses as well including Deborah Scott who serves as Executive Director of Georgia STAND-UP, Tamieka Atkins who leads the non-partisan voter engagement advocacy organization ProGeorgia, New Georgia Project CEO Nsé Ufot, Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda Executive Director Helen Butler, and LaTosha Brown of Black Voters Matter. Black women also showed up and showed out at the polls. According to the Washington Post, 91 percent of Black women voted for the Biden-Harris ticket.