I’m the founder of She the People, a national network that elevates the political power and voices of women of color. I founded She the People to uphold four fundamental values: to love our own and others, to seek justice for all, to ensure that everyone belongs, and, finally, to make sure that our American democracy lives up to its greatest promise.
In September 2018, She the People made history by catalyzing a national focus on women of color with our inaugural summit in San Francisco. We featured the nation’s most exciting progressive women of color leaders on ballots across the nation, all championing social and economic justice movements, and who continue to drive winning political strategy.
In April 2019, we made history again when we convened the first-ever women of color centered Presidential Forum in Houston. Here, eight of the leading Democratic presidential candidates made their cases to the nation for why they deserve the support of women of color. The forum was a smashing success, with nearly two thousand women of color attendees, over a million online viewers, wide press coverage, and #SheThePeople2020 trending number one nationally on Twitter.
Since the forum, She the People has successfully deployed our organizing strategy convening in Virginia and Florida where we hosted a sold-out debate watch party with our partners at New Florida Majority to great acclaim. Through our continued work, we introduced key issues like black maternal health, missing and murdered indigenous women, and white supremacist violence into the national conversation. We created space for other leaders, relentlessly driving home the narrative that ours is the most powerful, strategic voting bloc. Women of color are now to be addressed, counted, reckoned with, and courted for votes. We are visible nationally in a way we have never been before.
Forty two years ago, the term “women of color” was born at the National Women’s Convention. But really our lineage runs back to Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and Ella Baker. “She the People” resounded in the words of Grace Lee Boggs, and Yuri Kochiyama, and Zitkála-Šá, and Queen Liliuokalani. She the People found voice with Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller, and organizer Luisa Moreno. It was exemplified with the great Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, and with my hero Shirley Chisholm who began her historic run for Congress 51 years ago. These are our godmothers. We walk in their footsteps.
I want to underscore the one essential truth that many Democrats did not understand and embrace in 2016: The only path to the nomination—and to the White House—is with the enthusiastic support of women of color. We will lead an inclusive multiracial Democratic coalition to victory in the primaries and 2020.
She the People is about our faith in a politics we have not yet seen. We want a country where people can live lives of dignity, and we will insist that whoever receives our votes and our support will govern with our deepest values and full humanity in view. We are a powerful voting bloc. One in five voters in the primaries are women of color and we are 25% of the voters in the swing states of Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Arizona. We are the strongest Democratic party vote in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and California.
The stakes are incredibly high. From the highest office in the land, there have been active efforts to dissemble the laws that protect our basic civil and human rights: relentless attacks against Muslims, immigrants, black women, asylum seekers, the poor, students, and our transgender service members. In all our communities, we have been deeply affected and harmed by the cruel policies and practices of this country, especially in the last two years. We aren’t going back to 2016 or any other time. We are going forward.
Our work at She the People has just begun. Right now, we have our eyes fixed on the state houses in Arizona, Virginia, and Texas. We are striving to expand our network and reach in key swing states. And we always move forward and organize while remaining rooted in our fundamental values of love, justice, belonging, and democracy.
Women of color are saving graces, holding up moral standards for the rest of the nation. We do this not only for women of color—we do this for all of us in America.
I was here last week pre-debate writing about how women of color set the stage for the Democratic presidential debates. I’m here for a couple hours today to discuss anything about the current political landscape, women of color’s role in 2020, or whatever else is on your mind. Ask me anything!
Aimee Allison is a Senior Fellow at Prism and founder and president of She the People, an organization that elevates the political voice of women of color.