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OPEN LETTER BY BLACK WOMEN LEADERS IN RESPONSE TO THE NARRATIVE SURROUNDING BLACK WOMEN NOMINEES FOR VICE PRESIDENT
By Special to the Sentinel
Published August 4, 2020

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Black women are many things. We are business executives, political strategists and elected officials, philanthropists, and activists. We are health and wellness practitioners. We are entertainers and faith leaders. We are wives, mothers, daughters, educators, and students. We set and shift culture. We build power and we are powerful.

We are the highest propensity voters in this nation. We are a coalition of Black women leaders, who, in this inflection point of the Black liberation movement, where people around the world are galvanized to action, know that the time for Black women in the United States is now.

Over the past few months in the media, we have witnessed many Black women put forth as potential Vice Presidential candidates including former Gubernatorial Candidate Stacey Abrams, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Senator Kamala Harris, Congresswoman Val Demings, and former US Ambassador Susan Rice, be publicly critiqued. We have also watched many of these highly-credentialed women be disrespected in the media over the last few weeks.

Regardless of your political affiliation, whether it’s the media, members of the vice presidential vetting committee, a former Governor, a top political donor, or a small town mayor: We are not your Aunt Jemimas.  The use of the racist myth of a happy, Black servant portrayed as a happy domestic worker loyal to her White employer is not lost on us.  While some of the relentless attacks on Black women and our leadership abilities have been more suggestive than others, make no mistake–we are qualified and ambitious without remorse.

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We are servant leaders — motivated by a desire to uplift and advance our communities and nation. And we will not tolerate racist or sexist tropes consistently utilized in an effort to undermine our power. No matter who you are supporting for Vice President, you should be equally outraged by the blatant disrespect of Black women.

Black women have been and remain vital across sectors. We are indebted to women like Ella Baker, Septima Clarke, Shirley Chisholm, Angela Davis, Fannie Lou Hamer, Barbara Jordan, Ruby Doris Robinson, and Ida B. Wells just to name a few. These women have fought to move us forward and are collectively responsible for much of this country’s progress. Black women have been leading, and we must honor, protect, support, and uplift them.

In solidarity,

Aimee Allison

Angela Angel

Shavon Arline-Bradley

Raymone Bain

Cora Masters Barry

Julie A. Bayley

Jacqueline L. Bazan

Nadja Bellan-White

Cheryl Benton

Talia Boone

Karen Boykin-Towns

Rhonda Briggins

Roslyn Brock

Clayola Brown

Dy Brown

LaTosha Brown

Erin Broyard-Stennis

Cassandra Butcher

Valeisha Butterfield Jones

Melanie Campbell

Yolanda Caraway

Glynda Carr

Lynette Castille-Hall

Candi Castleberry

Emmalesha Christman

Reecie Colbert

Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole

Maurita Coley

Christina Cue

Maya R. Cummings

The Reverend Leah D. Daughtry

Marilyn Davis

Suzanne DePasse

Tara DeVeaux

Michelle Dubois

Dr. Hazel N. Dukes

Jotaka L. Eaddy

Lenora Abraham Eaddy

Sonya Ede-Williams

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

Heather Foster

Michelle Gadson-Williams

A’shanti Gholar

Monique Gilliam

Amy R. Goldson

Trudy Grant

Nicole Grayson

Linda Mercado Greene

Mamee Groves

Joyce Harley

Kynderly Haskins

Kristi Henderson

Holli Holiday

Tamara Houston

Ifeoma Ike, Esq.

Amy Elisa Jackson

Debbie Jarvis

Keisha Sutton James

Michelle Jawando

Marissa Jennings

Star Jones

Suzanne Kay

Niija Kuykendall

Dr. Nicol Turner Lee

L. Toni Lewis, MD

Peggy Lewis

Jeanine Liburd

Chanceé Lundy

Dee Marshall

Zola Mashariki

Bre Maxwell

Flo McAfee

Alexis Mitchell

Minyon Moore

Laura Murphy

Rachel Noerdlinger

Denise Nicholas

Dr. Amira Ogunleye

Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver

Uriridiakoghene Onovakpuri

Barbara A. Perkins

Karen Carter Peterson

Tracie Pough

Andrea Pugh-Kelley

Tamisha Raqib

Libi Rice

Karen Richardson

Ebonie Riley

Karen A. Robinson

Lydia Robinson

Angela Rye

Kailee Scales

Amanda Seales

Dana Vickers Shelley

Janine Sherman Barrois

V. Joy Simmons

Eris Sims

Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i

Denise Young Smith

Marcia Smith

Vanessa Spencer

Sherri Killins Stewart Ed.D

Lyric Swinton

Makani Themba

Rev. Dr. Regena Thomas

Sandi Thomas

Angela Bundrant Turner

Nicole Venable

Christine White

L. Joy Williams

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