Nearly 30 Black women, including activists, community leaders, elected officials and others have released an open letter to Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez calling for a meeting to discuss the state of Black women and the party.
Since the election of President Donald Trump, Democrats are working hard to figure out next steps and the future of the party. There is disagreement on what that looks like. Whether it’s doing more to get back white working class votes, galvanize the core base of the party, some combination of the two or none of the above, the path forward remains contentious and unclear.
One thing that is clear, however, is that Black women have long been consistent and loyal to the Democratic Party without getting much in return. In fact, the letter notes that, “Black women voters are the very foundation to a winning coalition,” yet the party does not reciprocate this loyalty in any meaningful way.
Women like activist Tamika Mallory, Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and TV personality Star Jones signed the letter which reads in part, “We have voted and organized our communities with little support or investment from the Democratic Party for voter mobilization efforts.
“We have shown how Black women lead, yet the party’s leadership from Washington to the state parties have few or no Black women in leadership. More and more, Black women are running for office and winning elections — with scant support from Democratic Party infrastructure.”
The letter also called on the DNC to invest in Black women in political leadership, saying, “In recent years, Black women have proven to be the most active voting demographic in the nation. In 2008 and 2012, 70 percent of eligible Black women cast ballots, accounting for the highest voter turnout of any racial or gender group, proving that our voting power can and has determined elections.”
The Democratic Party has a real problem. Data reveals that Black women voters are the very foundation to a winning coalition, yet some Black voters feel like the Democrats take them for granted. Observers say the party’s foundation has a growing crack and many believe if it is not addressed quickly the party will fall even further behind and ultimately fail in its quest to strengthen its political prospects. “A closer look at the data shows that in 2012 Barack Obama won re-election by 4.9 million votes,” the letter continued. “Black women cast a total of 11.4 million ballots, providing the margin he needed to win.
“This past November, even with a clear lack of voter mobilization investment and a decrease in overall Black voter turnout, 94 percent of Black women voted to keep this country moving forward by casting ballots for Hillary Clinton. In addition, on November 8th we saw important elected-office gains by Black women despite the otherwise dismal defeat of progressives during the general election.”
In short, the women are asking the party invest in Black women as elected officials and prove its commitment its most loyal demographic. For without Black women, as the letter stated, “it will prove to be a losing strategy.”
The DNC has not yet issued a response.