More than 1,000 influential Black women penned an open letter to President-elect Joe Biden, making good on a promise to hold his administration accountable when it comes to their unique and separate best interests.
The letter, organized by advocacy group #WinWithBlackWomen, calls on the Biden-Harris transition team to appoint and consider Black women for remaining cabinet positions as the incoming administration rolls out its nominees. The note appeared hours before a scheduled meeting with civil rights leaders on Tuesday and a special announcement regarding Biden’s health team.
Earlier this year advocate groups urged Biden to choose a Black woman as his running mate, resulting in the selection of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. With Black women again helping to secure his victory, (exit polls determined over 90 percent of eligible Black women voters cast ballots in his favor) Harris cannot be expected to be the only Black women bringing her lived experience to the table.
Biden has only nominated two Black women to the 15 cabinet positions, many of which have already been fulfilled. Over the past two weeks Linda Thomas-Greenfield was named as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations while Cecilia Rouse was picked to lead the Council of Economic Advisors.
“Both women are extremely qualified leaders who will bring integrity, wisdom and a deep commitment to serving the American people to their roles,” the letter reads.
Several Black women also hold key positions on the senior leadership team in the White House, but the transition team ultimately needs to go further the letter states.
“However, as we look to the historic challenges our country faces and the need for strong, accomplished leaders who reflect the breadth and depth of the American experience that you will need at your side when you take office in January 2021, there are glaring omissions in the most senior ranks.”
Black women face a serious threat of disparities in the fields of health; the maternal mortality rate, social justice issues; Black women make up the majority of the rising jail population and are killed disproportionately by the police.
Black communities also face public health adversities with the rise of lead levels in water, most recently in Flint and Newark, while also battling with food deserts and disproportionate treatment in primary education; Black girls are disciplined at higher rates than their peers and often considered older and more mature than they actually are.