In the days before Mother's Day, my mind, heart and soul runneth over with the blessings that have been poured into me by beautiful Black women that saw more in me than I have in myself. They have stood as monuments to the excellence that is the "Black Woman in Politics."
Therefore, it is only fitting that this Mother’s Day, aside from my actual mother, I choose to celebrate and recognize two women who I consider my “Mothers in Politics.” These are women, who as women of color…NO, as BLACK Women, have made strides and broken barriers in the world of politics.
Many read about them. Others have admired them from afar seeing them on television or featured in newspaper or magazine articles. I have been honored to have been molded by them.
Donna Brazile is my mother’s older sister and my loving “Auntie.” Since I first uttered that word, "Auntie," she has stepped into and changed my world in unimaginable ways. For some 26 years, my "Auntie," placing all the Southern emphasis that I can, has changed my world. She has provided me a personal and in-depth look on what it truly means to be a Black woman in politics. Through her, I learned that it’s important to know my history as well as everyone else’s. She continually stresses to me, to always wear a suit even on Fridays when everyone else comes CASUALLY to work, show up early, and never be afraid to stay late. While others think they know the Donna Brazile they see on television, they’ve never seen the woman who, after a long day of work, tends to her garden and sips a chilled glass of wine, savoring every drop. She is a woman who nourishes her craft and puts in countless hours so that when something happens in politics, as it always does, you ask what does Donna Brazile think. She is the ultimate political pundit, Black, female or otherwise. Yet, possesses the foresight to feed her soul like the true Southern gem she is because if the "Lady doesn't take the time. Time will indeed take the lady." A genuine sense of humility embodies her spirit and I can be all because she is.
Karen Carter-Peterson has garnered a reputation for being a force in the legislature and a monumental presence in Louisiana's state politics. Introduced to me by my aunt, KCP, as I respectfully call her, opened up the world of state politics to me. She threw me into the bull ring and allowed me to learn from the bottom up what it meant to be politically active and socially astute. She doesn't play. Her manner of professionalism is par excellent. In essence, she was my boss yet, made it abundantly clear to others that I worked “with her” and not “for her,” which to me spoke volumes. Her mentorship has ordered my steps. I'm not afraid to look backwards or forwards because of her. I know, I am blessed.
Together, they have taught me that in order to be a Black woman in politics you have to know where you stand but also be fearless enough to demand your seat at the table. To survive in politics is to constantly be ready to defend yourself but know how to keep up in this fight. So, to Auntie, KCP, and all of the other women of color in politics --Cheers to you!
Happy Mother's Day.
Brianna Golden is a law student at Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Although she has a relatively short-lived career, she has vastly matriculated into the world of politics as a former legislative aide for State Senator Karen Carter Peterson.