As the 2020 election season gets underway, Black women know all too well that the stakes couldn’t be higher. Donald Trump’s presidency and his unwavering Republican support have been horrific for the nation (and, let’s face it, the world). But it’s been particularly terrible for our families and us. That’s why we came out strong in 2018—both as voters and candidates running for office. And we’re not done yet! We are demanding that elected officials take action on our priorities and growing our voices and political power to make sure that we are heard.
To this end, three women-of-color led reproductive justice organizations (In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, and National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health) have formed a collaborative called Intersections of Our Lives. Recognizing the ways that so many policies make women of color so vulnerable in our society, their mission is to work together to advance a number of policy issues related to civil rights, justice, reproductive health and equality.
Recently, the group put out polling data about women of color voters. This data comes from phone interviews with nearly 3,000 women who self-identified as Black; Hispanic, Latino or Spanish-speaking; and Asian-American/Pacific Islander (AAPI). Looking at the results, it comes as no surprise that Black women led the way with the strongest feelings about the direction of the country and wanting to reverse course before it’s too late.
A breakdown of the data showed the following:
- Four-in-ten black women say they feel disgusted and disheartened by the direction of the country. We also reported feeling sad, scared and nervous. We were also the least likely to say that we feel happy, excited or proud of the way things are going. But we all knew that, right? This should be really obvious to anyone who’s paying attention!
- 85% of the Black women interviewed said that they doubt that the country will be safer for the next generation of people who share our race/ethnicity. Translation: We think things are getting worse for Black people, not better. This is compared to 72% of Latinas and 65% of AAPI women who said the same thing.
- 91% of Black women agreed that the stakes were too high not to vote in the 2018 midterms. And because of the survey design itself, 100% of the Black women polled were actually midterm voters. Yay, us!
- Black women identified explicitly voting for change in 2018 as opposed to voting specifically based on our values.
- 31% of Black women voters have concerns/questions about whether or not our voters were accurately counted. This makes sense because we all know that the Georgia gubernatorial race was stolen from Stacey Abrams. For Black women voters in Florida, the percentage concerned about their vote jumps to 35%.
- Our top three priorities as voters are: ending racial discrimination, ensuring access to affordable health care and ensuring access to clean water. But, we are definitely not a monolithic voting bloc. Our priority issues vary across age, education and marital status.
This data confirms what we’ve known all along—Black women are passionate about change and we want it now. We understand that we can’t afford to have the corruption, racism, cruelty and blatant disregard for our lives continue to define our political system and this presidency. We also want to see more women and people of color in office. 93% of us said so in the interviews, which was more pronounced than other women of color voters.
If America were truly smart, it would put us in charge since we’ve got the vision for change and the determination to bring it to life. But until that happens, we will continue to push and make our voices heard at the voting booth, as elected officials, as professionals, as students, as workers, as members of our community and beyond. We know that we simply can’t afford to stay quiet.