Women of color are pushing boundaries and making history all over the United States.
Kim Janey is the first woman and the first Black person to be elected mayor in Boston, Massachusetts. It’s the first time in 199 years that a woman — a Black woman — is leading Boston.
“It’s an incredible, incredible time in our city’s history, in our country’s history,” Janey said in an interview on Good Morning America.
“What I think is unique about our leadership is that Black women have always had to make a way out of no way. That is just what we do. It is what is in our DNA,” Janey said.
From Stacey Adams in Georgia to Kamala Harris in the White House, women of color are aiming to transform the United States into the utopian society that every American deserves and what so many have fought for.
According to ABC News, there are currently a record 49 women of color in Congress.
“In both 2018 and 2020, we saw barrier-breaking races where women, and more specifically women of color, were achieving notable firsts. That seems to be continuing in these off-cycle elections in 2021,” Kelly Dittmar, director of research at the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University.
“We’ve had to make the case to women of color who have been at the front lines of all sorts of activism and political activity outside of formal structures that they should throw their hats in the ring and that they will be supported,” Dittmar said.
Cheri Beasley, North Carolina’s first Black woman Supreme Court chief justice, is looking to take over retiring Senator Richard Burr’s spot.
“I’m very much aware that there are only 24 women currently serving in the U.S. Senate. There are zero African American women,” Beasley told ABC News. “North Carolina is a diverse state and we want to see the same reflected in the leadership.”
The push for accountability from public figures and a desire to serve the public in the best way possible is what all of these women are aiming for.
The trend of Black women gravitating toward leadership positions can be seen all over the country. For example, in Florida, Congresswoman Val Demmings aims to become the state’s first Black U.S. Senator. In New York City, civil rights lawyer Maya Wiley is challenging Mayor Bill de Blasio in its upcoming election.
“We have never had a Black woman lead this nation or any state in this country in 2021, but we’re going to change that,” Jennifer Carroll Foy, a former Virginia state lawmaker, and public defender said. Carroll Foy is one of two Black women on the ballot for Governor in Virginia.
“It’s not enough to have bills and budgets written for Black women. We need them written by Black women, and that’s what you’re seeing — the groundswell.”
Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell believes that the death of George Floyd in 2020 was the catalyst for Black women to make a change in our nation.
“The painful murder we all witnessed of George Floyd, I often say — I didn’t need to witness that as a Black woman, as a mother of two Black boys, to know that we had work to do here in the city of Boston with respect to policing reform and health disparities. And so I say if not now, then when,” Campbell said.
“The beautiful thing is that there are folks who are becoming more conscious that racism is real, that discrimination is real, that these inequities exist and they want to do something about it regardless of their demographic.”
Janey knows how impactful her new position is.
“Many people always ask, is this something you always wanted to attempt doing, did you always want to be mayor,” And, you know, I didn’t see that for myself because I didn’t see it in anyone else,” Janey said. “There’s always that pressure and that burden of being the first, and certainly being the first, you want to create more opportunities for others.”