As voters prepare to head to the polls across the United States in November, Black women will once again be looked to as the first line of defense in staving off GOP overreach and countering policies that are not only unpopular but also violate our basic human rights. We did it in 2020, helping Democrats take the Senate and the White House while also electing a Black and South Asian woman as vice president for the first time.
But Black women aren’t just showing up to the polls. From state Attorney General Letitia James in New York to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in Atlanta, Black women are taking on threats to our democracy and holding former President Donald Trump and his ilk accountable. Black women in the Democratic Party are showing America what accountability looks like — upholding the rule of law, fighting the forces that are dismantling our freedoms and rights, and leading by example as dedicated citizens by voting and encouraging others to do the same.
Just last week, James announced a $250 million fraud lawsuit against Trump, his business and his children. The suit alleges a litany of abuses, including wide-ranging real estate fraud, the falsification of Trump’s net worth and the revenues of his enterprises, and attempts to defraud through the use of deceptive business practices. It matters that Tish James is using her position and the power of her office to mete out justice.
In Georgia, Willis is similarly using her power to confront alleged election fraud and interference in 2020 presidential vote. Within the past few weeks, she has stated that if charged and convicted, anyone involved in such acts could face jail time — including Trump. She, too, is in a position to confront the former president with potential criminal charges.
The courage it takes to stand up to these powerful forces cannot be overstated. Black women are stepping up to the plate when others have taken a wait-and-see approach — or worse, have decided that the political cost of holding Trump accountable is too much.
As hard as it has been to enforce the rule of law to protect civil rights and to make all votes count, it’s even harder as Republicans spend millions on vile attack ads against the very Black women candidates in the Democratic Party who could lead their states and nation in a more just direction.
In Ohio’s 13th District, more than $6 million in attack ads is flowing from the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC — a political action committee aimed at electing House Republicans — to take down congressional candidate Emilia Sykes, twisting her record of protecting victims of domestic violence into a weapon.
In Georgia, gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams faces an onslaught of vicious ads — an attempt to derail the multiracial organizing she built that is a powerful vehicle to overcome voter suppression in the state.
We need more leaders to center the voices and leadership of Black women. But Black women are no longer waiting for candidates to approach our communities. We are using our voices, courage, skills and talents to run for seats all over the U.S.
Powerful Black women are running for office against some of the most extreme candidates in the country. From Val Demings in Florida to Cheri Beasley in North Carolina — competing for seats in the U.S. House and Senate, respectively — we are building on our political power to uphold the promises of our republic. We are choosing to believe in and make the American dream accessible for all, not a select few.
The women of color already in elected office — such as Reps. Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee from California, Rep. Ayanna Pressley from Massachusetts, and Rep. Cori Bush from Missouri — continue to utilize their power to confront a host of issues impacting marginalized communities across the country, including the overall threat to democracy posed by an increasingly extremist Republican party.
Black women are the ones giving Americans hope just a few weeks before the midterms. And hope — just like proof that Trump’s alleged seditious acts won’t go unanswered — can fuel turnout. It can inspire others.
Black women are what accountability looks like in a democracy that is struggling for its integrity. We have long utilized our power to create our own seats at the proverbial table for ourselves and others, and we have used our leadership for the benefit of all. We are leading the charge against Trump. We will show up to vote with our families and friends as a powerful, crucial political force. And we are showing the nation how to hold our democracy accountable to its promise. Now, it’s your turn.