There is nothing like being in a room full of women of color who are passionate and energized about politics and making the world a better place. It is truly one of the best feelings in the world.
In April of this year, I joined the steering committee for She The People, a summit centered around women of color coming together to strengthen our collective bonds, to organize our common efforts, and to realize the political power of women of color in 2018, 2020, and beyond. The brain child of Aimee Allison, She The People was one of the most amazing experiences I have had in politics. Days later, I am still thinking about the dynamic speakers, the friendships that were formed, and what is still to come from the women in the room and She The People.
While every moment was memorable, here are some of my favorites from the summit.
Emcee Kimberly Ellis
When Aimee told us Kimberly was going to be the emcee, I grinned ear-to-ear because she was the perfect person to host the event. Kimberly is one of our BGG contributors and Chief Creative of Unbought <> Unbossed. She is known for being one of the best Black women in politics when it comes to coalition building and women's empowerment. If you want to see a Black woman living her values and ideals every day, we suggest you follow Kimberly.
Aimee is the woman responsible for brining over 600 women of color together for the summit. She is President of Democracy in Color and one of the foremost voices in politics when it comes to the New American Majority and how women of color are a force in politics. You can watch my The BGG Fangirl Spotlight interview with her here and find out more about why she created She The People and her work overall. Don't forget to check out her podcast too!
Dolores Huerta is political royalty. I literally call her Queen Dolores. She has paved the way for women of color to have a strong voice in the labor movement and continues her work through the Dolores Huerta Foundation. I can't thank Dolores enough for everything she has done and continues to do for people of color in the United States.
It is the year 2018 and there still has not been a Native American woman that has served in Congress. Deb Haaland is going to change that. Her campaign for Congress in New Mexico's first congressional district has been groundbreaking, and she is inspiring more Native women to run for office. I can't wait to call her Congresswoman Haaland!
Alicia Garza is one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter and continues to remind us that Black lives do matter everyday. She speaks unapologetically about the trials and tribulations that Black women and LGBTQ women face daily in the United States, and that their issues deserve attention from all candidates and elected officials. Alicia is also a principal at Black Future Labs and is overseeing the Black Census Project, which will conduct the biggest national survey of Black people across class, disability, gender, geography, immigration status, and sexuality. The collected information will clarify the diversity of wants and needs that Black people imagine for our communities.
At the summit, Nina said:
1. I believe we have two hands: one to reach forward and one to reach back and lift our sisters up.
2. We can't ask folks to do more for us then we ask to do for ourselves.
3. Use your wishbone, the jawbone, and the backbone.
Watch more of her wise words below.
The children are going to save us and Lyric Watts will be one of the leaders. She was the youngest speaker at the summit and one of the most impactful. What I would have given to have her confidence, poise, and power at such a young age. Watch her below and be prepared to be inspired.
A Muslim woman in Congress, yes please! Rashida is another one of the women breaking barriers this year. Hailing from Detroit, she spoke about how her running for office and winning showed her son that bullies (*cough*, Trump) can't win.
Ashlee Marie Preston
Ashlee was the first transgender woman to run for state legislature in California. The part that I loved the most about her remarks were around intersectionality. When we speak of feminism, it has to be inclusive of women of all races, ethnicity, ages, sexuality, and socio-economic backgrounds. Ashlee did a great job of reminding everyone in the room, and those watching, about that.
As an organizer, I love that the summit ended with organizing! Women gathered by state and region to discuss how they will carry on the work of She The People. I can't wait to see what the women in attendance do post-summit, and excited for everyone to see what She The People does next.
Weren't able to attend the summit? Don't worry. You can watch the morning and afternoon sessions on The BGG Facebook page. Check out more great moments from the summit on the She The People Twitter account!
A'shanti F. Gholar is the founder of The Brown Girls Guide to Politics.