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Response to Kamala Harris as Vice President

Desiree Peterkin Bell shares her thoughts on Kamala Harris as our nation's vice president and the important role Black women play in electing our leader.

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As we have drawn closer to the date of the presidential election, many democrats discussed whether or not Democratic candidate Joe Biden should choose a black woman to run with him as vice president. Over the last few months, however, we’ve seen that conversation shift from “if” he should pick a black woman to “how could he not?” 

According to a poll taken at the end of last month, 60% of democrats believed that it was important for Biden to select a black woman as vice president. Millennial and Gen Z voters in particular held firm to this belief. A poll by Northwestern University found that 57% of the respondents said that they would be more enthusiastic about voting for Biden if he chose an African-American woman to be his running mate.

Joe Biden had the audacity to name Kamala Harris as his vice president nominee. History was made. The presence of a Black woman on a major party ticket is critical. His pick for vice president, however, does not mean that the battle is over. Black women traditionally face far more challenges in the political arena, and Harris is no exception. 

Senator Kamala Harris’ presence on a major party ticket unfortunately also highlights the often racist and misogynistic remarks thrust toward Black women. No matter which woman you’d like to see in office, you can’t claim Black Lives Matter while simultaneously failing to call out racism and sexism that impact black women in politics. Racism and sexism are hardly new topics, and no one knows this better than black women. 

I stand with 1000 of my fellow Black women leaders in solidarity to call out these attacks and provide perspective politically to many who don’t understand what we know is at stake in this election. Our consortium of Black women leaders has disrupted the status quo of this election cycle and of society. 

As Black women, we won’t be silent and allow crucial issues to take a backseat during this election. We must stand together, affirming ourselves, advocating for ourselves and making

clear that we know the value of what we bring to the table. It’s our responsibility to continue fighting for a black female vice president every step of the way. We want representation, change and impact, and we intend to do all that is necessary to get it. 

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