Of the many responses to Donald Trump winning the presidential election on Tuesday, one of the most powerful was an open letter from 100 women of color leaders. Signed by activists including Ai-jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, and Charlene Carruthers of the Black Youth Project 100, the letter addresses the United States as a nation.
They write, in part:
Our work did not start, and has not ended, with this election. Women built upon longstanding community and family networks to lead community-based voter programs. We’ve known that women of color represent 74 percent of the growth in eligible women voters since 2000. In more than 100 cities, across all 50 states, women came together to mobilize and inspire turnout, creating an unprecedented gender and racial gap at the polls.
Women did this work, not to get one woman a new job, but because we understood the stakes in this election. Black lives, women’s lives, immigrant’s lives, the lives of LGBTQ folks, of people with disabilities; of working people of every race, region and ethnicity, including those at Standing Rock and others protecting our land. We know that the future and well-being of this country depends on the health and well-being of all women.
Today, we feel how far we are from the promise of a nation that ensures liberty and justice for all. But our work, built on the hopes of our grandmothers, mothers, sisters and daughters, is testament to the power of our shared belief in that promise. It is we who must build the path forward on our journey.
They also invite us all to take the pledge to stand with women of color leadership in the #First100hours and #First100days:
“I will stand with women who are leading solutions that support a vision for Black lives, an end to violence against women and girls, power to make decisions about our bodies, health and reproduction, common sense immigration reform and an end to Islamophobia. I pledge to take action to pursue a democracy and economy where we all have an equal say, and an equal chance.”
In the election’s devastating results, we should remember that it was women of color who voted most overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump. According to the Guardian, 98% of black women and 68% of Latina women voted for Hillary Clinton, while the majority of white women — 53% — voted for Trump. And in an election where there are few things to celebrate, we’re happy to see several women of color win important elections. Even though there is a Republican majority in the Congress, we know that women like Tammy Duckworth, Kamala Harris, and Catherine Cortez Masto will fight for reproductive rights and for the rights of women, people of color, LGBTQ+ folks, and others.
You can sign the pledge to support women of color leadership here.
Top photo via Twitter/Linda Sarsour
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Erika W. Smith is BUST's digital editorial director. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @erikawynn and email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.