By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer
“The no-qualified-candidates myth, when it comes to Black people, is as laughable in California politics as it is in any other industry. We just haven’t called it out. That ends now.” — Jasmyne Cannick
Black women are coming for their due. Los Angeles-based journalist and political strategist Jasmyne Cannick recently penned an open letter for Equal Pay and Better Work, calling out the “erasure and minimization” of African American women’s contributions in political campaigns. While it’s still a White-male dominated space, Ms. Cannick’s missive includes examples of how Black women have orchestrated some of some of California’s biggest political campaigns.
“The no-qualified-candidates myth, when it comes to Black people, is as laughable in California politics as it is in any other industry. We just haven’t called it out. That ends now,” reads the letter.
“Black women have managed multi-million dollar budgets (the six-figure commissions of which too often went to non-POC general consultants) and played leading roles in some of the most impactful campaigns in recent cycles. And they’ve won — big,” it continues.
The open letter’s release comes as California is in the midst of a recall election and coincided with Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, which was observed on August 3. Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is the approximate day a Black woman must work into the new year to make what a White man made at the end of the previous year. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2021 wage gap for Black women compared to non-Hispanic White men is $0.63.
Jannell Ross, Time magazine’s senior correspondent on race and identities wrote on the topic earlier this month. Ms. Ross quoted 2021 data from the National Women’s Law Center that found that the wage gap between Black women who work full time and their White male counterparts equals the loss of $964,000 over a 40-year career. Ms. Ross called the difference “life changing money.”
Among those signing the open letter were Lauren Babb, Chair of California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls; Atalene Brown of the National Congress of Black Women; Taisha Brown, who chairs the California Democratic Party’s Black Caucus; Kellie Todd-Griffin of the California Black Women’s Collective; and Dr. Ramona Bishop, former Associate Superintendent for Educational Services for the Twin Rivers Unified School District.
“The fact that this letter is necessary speaks to the lack of representation of Black women in many fields including political campaign consulting and other relevant roles,” shared Dr. Bishop, who is now co-founder of the Elite Public Schools charter system in Vallejo.
“Now is the time to prove that politicians and other employers can go beyond the rhetoric and hire Black females for key roles in their campaigns and cabinets in executive leadership roles,” she continued.
To read the open letter in its entirety, visit https://medium.com/@who_we_be/open-letter-equal-pay-for-better-work-25d46cc9534c