For the first time in American politics, we are seeing a plethora of Black women rise and carve their own paths as powerful politicians.
Kamala Harris, though her presidential race was cut short, helped start a conversation about Black women candidates who are leading the charge for their peers and aspiring politicians to make a real impact.
“She broke a glass ceiling for women of color,” said Rep. Karen Bass to The New York Times in regards to Harris’ race. According to her, “there will be more African-American women running in the next presidential race. Maybe it will even be Kamala herself.”
Harris and many others of her stature have made great strides for Black women in politics. The list below spotlights a handful of those Black women who are making noise in the political realm.
Rep. Val Demings
Florida Rep. Val Demings is a second-term congresswoman. She gained national attention as one of the House impeachment managers that presented the chamber’s case against Donald Trump earlier this year.
According to Fox News, she previously served as Orlando, Florida’s first female police chief for over 20 years, and is a member of the centrist New Democrat Coalition.
“As the first female police chief of Orlando, she has proven herself to be a tireless champion for issues impacting African Americans in our country and will serve as a much-needed voice for the people of the 10th District of Florida,” U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York said, according to Orlando Sentinel.
Demings has officially endorsed presidential candidate Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election and one of the candidates being considered as the possible Democratic Vice President.
Former California attorney general and presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris was positioned to be the next president-elect of the United States this year. Before ending her race, many saw her being the change the country needed in office.
Harris, during her race for president, pitched herself as a “history-making candidate,” according to The New York Times, who wanted to focus on helping historically marginalized groups and low-income Americans. Her sharp attitude, quick thinking, and affable personality made her a star contender for president and many hope to see her run again in the 2024 race.
Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Jackie Gordon is currently running to represent New York’s 2nd Congressional District on Long Island. The longtime town council-member and combat veteran was the first Black woman to sit on the Town Council in Babylon, NY in 2007. She also used her educational and veteran background to integrate additional veteran services into the community.
Gordon has been able to use her passions to fuel her actions in the community, including jumpstarting a program for high school seniors going to serve our country and raising money for military families.
Sen. Harris even endorsed Gordon in her race stating “We need Jackie’s voice in Congress.”
“Jackie understands the complexities of the issues facing working and middle class families today,” Harris told Refinery29. “Just as she has already served her country and her community, I know that Jackie will be a powerful advocate for Long Island in Congress.”
Stacey Abrams is a political star that has continued to rise as a contender for Democratic Vice President. According to survey data proposed by the progressive strategy network Way to Win, Abrams was identified as Biden’s strongest potential running mate.
ELLE reported that she made history as the first woman to lead a political party in Georgia’s General Assembly, the first Black woman to lead the Georgia House of Representatives, and was on track to become America’s first Black woman governor in 2018.
Abrams takes pride in who she is and what she represents for young Black girls.
“I feel beautiful when young Black girls come up to me. They are not just excited to see me, but to see themselves in me,” she told ELLE.
Through all her astounding feats, Abrams has positioned herself to be a Black woman worth watching out for.
Congressmember Karen Bass is the California representative and Congressional Black Caucus head who endorsed former VP Joe Biden for president.
According to the National Endowment For Democracy, Bass has been an outspoken advocate for balanced fiscal policies, the foster care system, and America’s international relations with Africa. During her years as a physician’s assistant, she also noted the health disparities and urban issues plaguing the Black community.
The Crisis Magazine reported that Bass became the first-ever Black woman to become Speaker of any state legislature in the United States in 2008. She’s a member of the House Judiciary Committee and serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs where she is a ranking member of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations.
Warrensville Heights Democratic representative Marcia Fudge has represented the eastern Cuyahoga County in Congress since she won a 2008 special election. She chairs a House Agriculture subcommittee that oversees anti-poverty programs like SNAP, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and free and reduced school meals.
According to Cleveland, Fudge works on collaborative community efforts and focuses on bringing resources to her district in Ohio. Fudge has argued that no other candidates in Congress are as qualified as her.
“I understand the institution and I work diligently to make sure I represent the people of the district,” she said.
Keisha Lance Bottoms
American politician, lawyer, and mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms has become a notable figure in politics recently as a Black woman making things happen. Her rough beginning in the mayor’s seat was met with great determination to better the city of Atlanta.
According to the city’s government website, the proud HBCU graduate and second female mayor of Atlanta previously served as a city council member who is currently leading with a progressive agenda focused on equity and affordable housing. She was even named 2020 Georgian of the Year by Georgia Trend Magazine.
Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice finds herself in the company of others who are also looking to be presidential candidate Joe Biden’s running mate in the 2020 election.
Rice previously served on former President Barack Obama’s Cabinet as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and as a national security adviser. The foreign policy adviser also worked alongside former President Bill Clinton as part of the National Security Council and oversaw African affairs. Her involvement and political achievements have been compared to that of Condoleezza Rice, Biography reports.