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She the People: Why Supporting Women of Color in Power Helps Everyone Sleep Better at Night

Women’s Equality Series: Part 2. Increasing the political power of women of color empowers people of all races and genders. Meet the spokeswomen of the New American Majority.

Image: Aimee Allison (front) and supporters of She the People (image courtesy of She the People)

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. 

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist. 

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. 

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

   ~Martin Niemöller

I don’t know you, but I’m pretty certain of one thing. Unless you’re white, cis male, heterosexual, rich, ultra-conservative, and far- or alt-right, there’s a very good chance that you’ve felt marginalized and disempowered by the priorities and policies of our current president and administration.

How can you not feel left out? The values, needs, special interests, and standards of living that many of our representatives are dedicating their time and energy to have become so alarmingly narrow, money-driven, and self-serving, that the number of people and voters who still feel represented by them is continuously shrinking.

She the People, the first national summit for women of color in politics 

This is where She the People comes in. Midterm elections are just around the corner and seizing the necessary seats to reclaim a government that truly represents her people is more critical than ever. The summit, held in San Francisco on September 20, 2018, will be attended by 500 women of color from 25 states, including elected officials and candidates in Congressional, statewide, mayoral, and district attorney races, movement leaders, and top political strategists.

Identity politics are often criticized for being a divisive force while they are key to building social movements. Our voices are already the majority . . . our plurality of identities is not only our greatest strength, but is also at the indisputable core of successful progressive change throughout history.

  ~Onnesha Roychoudhuri, author of The Marginalized Majority: Claiming our Power in a Post-Truth America (Melville House, 2018)

Aimee Allison is the president of Democracy in Color, an expert on women of color in politics, the voice of the New American Majority, founder of She the People, and host of the acclaimed “Democracy in Color” podcast. According to Ellen McGirt, editor of Fortune magazine’s raceAhead, it is “The smartest podcast on race I’ve found in ages. Listen and grow.”

Democracy in Color Podcast

In her latest Democracy in Color podcast episode with guests and political strategists, Tori Gavito (#WaytoWin) and LaTosha Brown (#BlackVotersMatter), Allison discusses how She the People changes the game, not only for women of color, but for people of all races. Below is a brief excerpt of their inspiring exchange:

Allison: And we also have to work across race, and I want to hear from the both of you how we do it. I live in the Bay, I’m multiracial myself, so I have this built-in solidarity. But I think there is something about the way in which women of color can organize across race that shows we have a heart for other people, and I just want to have your feeling and sense of how we can show the rest of the country how to do that.

Gavito: It was looking at 2016 and looking at all the places we won. If you connect the dots and look at all the work that was done, all these inspiring women . . . they themselves reflect a multiracial coalition. If we could synthesize that in one common strategy, anything is possible.

Allison: Latosha, what’s your thought on how women of color can lead a broader, multiracial, more inclusive coalition?

Brown: When there seems like there is resistance, how can you continuously stay with your principles, have your dignity, say ‘no’ – we are going to transform this . . . Part of the challenge is . . . within the progressive community, we have to knock down our own barriers, be able to cross lines, really be able to build relationships, to do organizing with each other, also understand how we move different messages and different communities, and tailor that. That’s the way to win it.

Allison: If you are listening to these two women, Tori Gavito and LaTosha Brown, the nation’s top political strategists, I can’t emphasize to you how different this conversation is than if we went to some democratic party operative, people who are the establishment. They are going to go after moderate voters and try to win. That’s not how we are going to take the house in 2018. It’s this fierceness, but also the big loving part of the way that women of color, even political strategists or leaders, are approaching this work . . . Can I ask you a favor, LaTosha, as we wrap up? You’re famous for this. Can you leave us with a song?

Brown: Yes, and this is a song coming from Selma, Alabama. This is one of the movement songs, and I learned it from my grandmother . . . ‘Well the first thing I did right, was the day I started to fight. Keep your eyes on the prize and hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, keep your eyes on the price, and hold on, hold on.’

It’s not going to be business as usual –– not for Democrats and not for Republicans. This is a whole new playbook that will result in taking our country back.  

    ~Aimee Allison

To support the causes of Democracy in Color, She the People and the spokeswomen of the New American Majority, visit www.ShethePeople.org and the Democracy in Color Podcast.

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