Democratic Party, Senator Harris, Fannie Lou Hamer discussed on The Takeaway
South Asian woman to accept the nomination for vice president for a major political party. Black women have been an essential part of the Democratic Party. For more than half a century. A recent Pew study found that 87% of black women identified as Democrats, making them one of the most party loyal demographics in the country. Yet they've often been sidelined, forced to fight for a seat at the table and left off the pages of history. Some more numbers to consider only 47 black women have ever served in Congress in Kamala Harris is only the second black woman to be a senator. The black women have helped shape the ideology of the party and have played a central role in the lead up to the 2020 election when a record breaking 122 black women filed to run for congressional seats. I'm Bridget Bergen in Vega. Marking this historic moment and reflecting on the critical but often overlooked work of black women in the Democratic Party. That's where we start today on the take away. Joining me now is co brag. A reporter for the 19th, a nonprofit newsroom with a focus on gender policy and politics. Thank you for joining US co Thank you for having me. And also with us is Cat Stafford, an Associated Press reporter on race and ethnicity. Hi cat. Hi. How are you doing? Bridget? I'm great. And Kat. I want to start with big picture. Black women are one of the most consistent voting demographics in the country, and this holds true across this diverse population. What drives the turnout. Black women when they hit the poles when they usher their families their frames, they know that they are not just voting for a simple reason. Many of these women believe they're voting for life or death through their communities. When you look at The legacy of black women. Black people in this nation. This nation has AH, long history of racism. We're still dealing with the effects of slavery and systemic racism still permeates through the fabric of this nation. So when black women hits of the poles, they head to the polls with that on their shoulders with that in their mind, so When you have calmly hairs reaching this new level for black women within politics is quite an emotional moment for many of them and cat despite being faithful Democrat voters. How has the Democratic Party sideline black women? So historically, black women have been the ones who have organized. I believe Camel hair stated disinherit expected, she noted the legacy of black women those who came before her, she noticed that black women have rallied. They have marched. They have fought for many of these movements that have led us to this point today, for that was the civil rights movement or the fight. For women to get the right to vote, which we know that that come into fruition for black women until many, many years later. So when you talk about the legacy of black women, they are the ones who have been the backbone of the struggles in America, and that, in turn, though, has forced them to be on the sidelines because of racism because of sexism. Which in many cases only women of color face that double edged toward Cho. Senator Harris is now one of the few examples of the black woman in politics who actually has a seat at the highest table. What's the significance of this moment in terms of the leadership opportunity, but also the burden? Yes. So I think that Senator Harris got to this in her speech last night in talking about the multifaceted nous of this moment. She's really specific about where she fits into the legacy of this nation by sharing a lot of parts of What made her her She talked about. Howard University. She talked about being a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority incorporated, and all of these things made her who she was since she was born at that hospital in Oakland. I think this is the first time for a lot of people that she was very, very specific. In talking about who her family was who she thought to be the people that have gotten her to this moment whether they have what they are alive to see her or not, And I think this is happening in the moment of Democratic National Convention. That is, they keep referring to is an unconventional convention because of this moment that we're facing this pandemic. And she was one of the only people to mention that the 19th amendment, the centennial of which we're celebrating this week did what did not successfully achieve access to the ballot for all I think it is definitely a landmark on. But it's something that minors room is named after a bout with an asterisk right to denote the fact that not all people, not all women got the right to vote following this amendment to the Constitution. And I think that's really important. And I think she knows that in this moment as both Senator Harris and Michelle Obama have stated in their speeches that they love their country, But I think when you hear the on ly black woman in the U. S Senate, and if she is elected to the lighthouse will leave that Senate without a black woman there Toe. She talks about opening doors. Being the first of many, but without someone else to take up that baton. I think that when she especially black women say that they're fighting for equality and access in this country out of a love that is also carrying a lot of what was in the trauma and the legacy of what it means to fight for the ballot, And I think She did an excellent job of mentioning a lot of black women who I hope people will learn about married Church. Terrell Mary McLeod Bethune, Diane Nash, Fannie Lou Hamer. I'm so glad you mentioned that go because, you know, I want to spend a moment talking about some of those women that Senator Harris mentioned last night. You know, Fannie Lou Hamer was a civil rights activist. Lots of our listeners will know her work well, but for those who don't Can you talk about her impact and influence on the Democratic Party? Absolutely so I have roots in Mississippi and so standing. Lou Hamer is wanted in so many ways. She was a farmer. She was a sharecropper, and she fought to push the party toe where it needed to go. To push the party to see women like her who had carried this nation who had built this nation right and yet could not be elected. Did not have this party did not make room And so she founded the Freedom Democratic Party. Really push the party where she wanted to see you go. And I think that that's really important to lift her name up in this moment, right when you know Fannie Lou Hamer was fighting for food access for farmers in the Mississippi Delta, who I mean the irony is so burning that like to be a farmer to be a sharecropper. To be the descendant of the enslaved and yet be hungry, And we're now in this moment where so many people are facing hunger in this pandemic and racism and just so many dueling factors that make life really hard. I think the lift her name up is really important and also a nod to the work that Senator Harris and Joe Biden and will have to do to honor the fact that there are a lot of people who want to see the Democratic Party incorporate people further on the left. Andi incorporate those eyes and pushing further and the reality is there's a lot of criticism. Because of their records, with the crime Bill and Senator Harris coming from a law enforcement background. We're in the moment where we're still facing, you know the ramifications of the uprisings who saw this summer? And people want to see more..