By Tracy Chiles McGhee | Word In Black
(WIB) – Black women have been pivotal in shaping democracy and the ongoing fight for voting rights. In the 2020 election, they made a decisive impact in races across the country. Yet, their struggle for social justice has not translated into equality and improved overall well-being.
As we analyze the results of local elections in 2023 and prepare for next year’s presidential election, how will we recognize and support Black women’s fight against economic hardships and the dismantling of rights? Will policymakers craft bold policies necessary to close the economic gaps for Black women and create a more inclusive democracy for us all?
86% of Black women state they will definitely or probably vote in the 2024 presidential election.
Black women make things happen by working together. When you observe them, you see Democracy in action. Many affirm, Democracy is US. They are organizing, mobilizing, and advocating for their rights in diverse ways. As voters prepared for November’s “off-year” elections, here are a few of the Black women who have stepped up as civic champions.
Kadida Kenner has been a tireless advocate for a range of social and economic justice issues, from fighting for fair courts to raising the minimum wage and protecting public education.
Kenner leads the New Pennsylvania Project, a voting rights organization that aims to enfranchise communities of color, youth, and immigrants. By focusing on expanding the electorate, they ensure everyone is included in the democratic process. Their strategy hinges on year-round voter registration and turning that registration into actual votes.
Virginia’s Krysta Jones is deeply involved in community activism, focusing on engaging African American women in advocacy and politics. The founder and CEO of Vote Lead Impact, Jones practices civic engagement 365 days a year and stresses the need for constant engagement beyond the election cycle. Jones also leads the Black Women’s Roundtable of Virginia, which focuses on empowering their members to fuel sustainable change.
Janice Robinson is the North Carolina Director for Red Wine and Blue. Robinson’s work focuses on harnessing and amplifying the political power of suburban women.
The organization has developed a training program to mobilize women around relevant community issues, encouraging active participation from petition campaigns to voting.
Another Black woman shaping democracy and the fight for voting rights is Kat Calvin, the author of “American Identity in Crisis: Notes from an Accidental Activist” and Founder of Spread The Vote, Project ID, and the Project ID Action Fund.
With 26 million American adults lacking ID, Calvin illuminates a national crisis often overlooked yet profoundly impactful. Her work transcends the ballot box, addressing the very threads of survival—access to jobs, housing, healthcare, and safety.
Telling stories through images is the tool that illustrator Nadia Fisher employs to engage audiences in democracy and political participation.
“As an Artivist, I create art to bring awareness to issues, to inspire, to empower because this is one of the ways that I use my voice for change,” Fisher explains. “Everyone has their own way of showing up… What’s important is that we’re all in this together.”
Despite significant economic and social challenges, Black women are still deeply invested in democracy. According to a Goldman Sachs survey, 86% of Black women state they will definitely or probably vote in the 2024 presidential election. They also remain optimistic about the potential for change despite the realities they face. In fact, the survey revealed that 63% of Black women are optimistic about their futures. This illustrates the unwavering determination of Black women and their belief in democracy as a viable tool for change.
Supporting and protecting the most disenfranchised and marginalized is the cornerstone of a functioning democracy. When such a group rises and evolves, we all rise and evolve. Democracy is Us. Make your voice count.
Tracy Chiles McGhee is an award-winning author dedicated to building community and shining a light on the phenomenal contributions of Black women through the power of storytelling. She is the Founder of My Published Book, where she leverages her prowess in indie publishing and marketing to amplify women’s voices and is host of She Wrote The Book for Unerased | Black Women Speak.