Newswire: Everyone is counting on Black women again to go the distance in Georgia’s Senate Runoff Race

Stacey Abrams campaigning

By: Charise Frazier, Newsone

Black women have done it before and are being asked to do it again in the state of Georgia.
The ask? To help deliver votes ensuring progressive leaders win in a highly contentious Senate runoff race. On Jan. 5, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, will face off, as will GOP Sen. David Perdue and his Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.
The highly watched race will determine the future of the Senate and Joe Biden administration’s ability to deliver on its vow to restore the “soul of the nation,” one of the president-elect’s rallying calls during his presidential run.
“The senate race in Georgia is the difference between Kamala Harris casting tie-breaking votes in the senate or Mitch McConnell continuing to hold the country hostage,” Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party, told NewsOne during a phone conversation Monday.
For Black Americans, that would mean a concerted effort to reform a multitude of systems that have disproportionately hindered their advancements economically, in education as well as in health, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Two weeks ago, white mainstream media finally began to recognize the work and achievements of Black women organizers in Georgia like Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight, Nse Ufot, leader of The New Georgia Project and LaTosha Brown, founder of Black Voters Matter. The brainpower and organized efforts among them as well as scores of unnamed on-the-ground workers helped register thousands of Black voters, contributing to a total of 1.2 million Black voters casting ballots in the Nov. 3 election. According to exit polls, 92 percent of Black women in Georgia voted for Biden.
Due to COVID-19, organizers will again rely on unconventional mobilizing efforts to build on the momentum of the last election cycle, organizing text banks, virtual events and even going door-to-door in the pandemic.
“Amazing Black women organizers are risking their lives to save our communities in a global pandemic that has killed one in one thousand Black people in America. From the pandemic or politics, Black women have consistently been on the right side and the rest of us need to follow,” Mitchell added.
Glynda Carr, the president of Higher Heights for America, the only national organization dedicated to harnessing Black women’s political power, said she had no reason to doubt history would not repeat itself.
“The creativity of Black women organizers was on full display this cycle and created a lot of innovative ways to do contact lists, voter mobilization as well as being able to gather voters virtually and I certainly anticipate that that innovation will continue to grow and stretch,” Carr told NewsOne. “They’re not only inspired by the moments of electing Warnock and Ossoff but they also have been inspired by the leadership of these activists.
But, Black women can’t continue to function as the sail on a weathered ship.  As the most reliable voting bloc, Black women invested in this election with the promise that their votes would finally warrant a return and produce action towards legislation eradicating blocked accessways to wellness without the threat of patriarchy and misogynoir, bridled under the umbrella of white supremacy.
“Democracy is a participatory activity and should not fall on one particular constituency to overperform,” Carr continued. “And I certainly believe that Black women will not only prepare to be an informed voter going into the January 5 runoff, they will also organize their networks. But I also think we’re going to be calling on our neighbors to participate in this runoff and you’re going to hear Black women going ‘Hey neighbor!’”
But Carr cautioned walk cannot be had alone.
“I certainly think that here’s another opportunity coming out of the general election where there’s obviously discussions around the participation of white women, the participation of Latinx and the participation of Black men,” Carr said. “This is definitely sparking a conversation around shared values and how we can show up for one another. I’ve seen those conversations happening and I certainly think in Georgia people will continue to create virtual spaces for those to continue as they go to not only elect the one but two senators, which is unique in itself.”

Newswire: Kamala Harris: ‘Our very democracy was on the ballot’

By Sandy Fitzgerald, Associated Press

Vice-President elect, Kamala Harris


Kamala Harris, while introducing Joe Biden to make his victory speech as president elect of the United States, lauded American voters for delivering a “clear message” by choosing “hope and unity, decency, science, and yes, truth”  by choosing the former vice president as their choice for president of the United States 
“I know times have been challenging, especially the last several months,” the California Democrat told a wildly cheering crowd in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden’s home. “The grief, sorrow, and pain, the worries and the struggles, but we have also witnessed your courage, your resilience and the generosity of your spirit. For four years, you marched and organized for equality and justice, for our lives and for our planet and then you voted.”
Harris further told the audience that “our very democracy was on the ballot” in the election and the “very soul of America” was at stake, and the voters “ushered in a new day for America.”
Harris lauded Biden as a “man with a big heart who loves with abandon” including with his love for his wife, Jill, and for his family, Hunter and Ashley and his grandchildren.  “I first knew Joe as vice president,” she said. “I really got to know him as the father who loved Beau (Biden)”
She also lauded her husband and family, before moving on to speak about her own role in history as the first female vice president, not to mention the first Black and Asian-American to be elected. 
“This is for the women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all. Including the Black women who are often, too often overlooked, all the women who have worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century, 100 years ago with the 19th amendment. Fifty-five years ago with the Voting Rights Act and now in 2020,” said Harris. 
“Tonight I reflect on their struggle, their determination, and the strength of their vision to see what can be unburdened by what has been, and I stand on their shoulders,” said Harris, praising Biden for his vision in breaking “one of the most substantial barriers that exist in our country and seek a woman as his vice president.”
She also promised that she will not be the last woman in the office, as “every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities and to the children of our country, regardless of your gender. Our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they’ve never seen it before. But know that we will applaud you every step of the way.”
Harris further promised that she will be an “loyal, honest, and prepared” vice president, like Biden was to President Barack Obama. “The road ahead will not be easy, but America is ready. And so are Joe and I,” said Harris.
Harris, at 56, is set to be sworn in not only as the first female vice president but the first Black and Indian-American vice president. But the second spot at the White House is a pinnacle for Harris, a former San Francisco district attorney and the first Black woman to serve as California’s attorney general, notes a New York Times profile of Harris. 
And when Harris was elected to the Senate in 2016, she was the second-ever Black woman in the chamber’s history. Her argumentative style quickly gained notice in the Senate, particularly after she fiercely grilled witnesses during committee testimony, including during the confirmation hearings for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
After their exchanges, President Donald Trump labeled the California Democrat as being “extraordinarily nasty” to Kavanaugh and called the way she treated him a “horrible thing.”
Harris is the daughter of a Jamaican father, Donald Harris, an economist and Stanford University professor and an Indian mother, scientist Shyamala Gopalan, who died in 2009 of colon cancer. 
Harris’ parents divorced when she was seven years old. She also has a sister, Maya, and is married to a Jewish husband, Douglas Emhoff, who will become the first second gentleman. Her stepchildren have nicknamed her “Momala.” 
Harris attended an historically black college, Howard University, before becoming a prosecutor working on domestic violence and child exploitation cases. 
Her legal background as California’s attorney general has caused her political issues, including when she was running for president early in the 2020 race. However, Harris gained attention when, during an early debate, she attacked Biden’s Senate record on race. 
But since then, Harris has stressed that she does support Biden and his positions, and has come under several other attacks from Trump, who has ridiculed the pronunciation of her name. After she debated Vice President Mike Pence, Trump slammed her as a “monster.”
Harris joined Biden’s ticket after the former vice-president promised to pick a female running mate. Even that came under criticism from Trump, who expressed surprise that Biden would pick a running mate who had attacked him during their presidential debate. 

Newswire: Biden says he won’t commit to picking a woman of color for VP running mate

By Bruce C.T. Wright, Newsone

Black voters for Biden


In a move that is sure to stun some of his most ardent supporters, Joe Biden said on Monday that he would not commit to choosing a woman of color to be his vice-presidential running mate. The moment of candor ran contrary to the presumptive narrative that Biden was intent on selecting a Black woman to be his running mate.
Biden’s interview with Pittsburgh’s KDKA commanded attention when he said he would readily have Michelle Obama as his running mate “in a heartbeat.” But it was his comments later in the interview that may have raised the antennae of some of the Black voters who pushed Biden to victory in the early primaries. Biden said he would stay true to his vow to pick a woman candidate, but that’s it.
“I’ll commit to that be a woman because it is very important that my administration look like the public, look like the nation,” Biden told KDKA. “And there will be, committed that there will be a woman of color on the Supreme Court, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a vice president, as well.”
Those seemed to be his most explicit comments about his future running mate to date, but it was unclear how that strategy might affect his campaign that was already nearly $187 million behind Donald Trump in terms of fundraising. A poll last week found that Biden running with a Black candidate could boost his chances of winning the 2020 election.
Stacey Abrams and Kamala Harris have been the two Black women at the center of Biden’s running mate rumors for months now, but his comments on Monday put those chances into doubt. If Biden did choose a woman who is not Black to be his running mate, that could affect how Black women voters — the backbone of the Democratic Party — will react. In fact, that may be true for Black voters as a whole, who could take the selection of Amy Klobuchar (or any non-Black person) as a slap in the face since Black folks have been largely credited with propelling Biden’s candidacy after Sanders jumped out to an early lead following the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary in two very white states.
The GRIO put it more plainly last week with its headline: “If Biden doesn’t pick Stacey Abrams, he can kiss Black folks goodbye.”
Biden has even gone so far as to boast on the debate stage, at rallies and, really, anywhere else, that he has the undying support of Black voters.
No, this isn’t a quid pro quo with Black voters expecting a Black woman running mate to be blindly selected in exchange for their support. On the contrary, the calls for a Black woman vice-presidential candidate are consistent with those from well before there were any 2020 Democratic candidates when the narrative was that the Party’s presidential ticket should include some semblance of diversity. While Klobuchar being a woman would technically fulfill that demand, the unspoken expectation has been that if the nominee was not a Black person, then the running mate should be.
The logic behind choosing a Black woman/person as a running mate stems from the 2016 election when Hillary Clinton failed to turn out Black voters. In particular, 4.4 million voters decided against voting at all, including one-third of them who were Black, according to the Washington Post. If the Democratic nominee chooses a Black running mate, that should in theory spur more of those voters who sat out the last election to participate this time around with most of them, in all likelihood, casting ballots against Trump.
Of course, that’s the end game for Democrats — to vote out Trump — so it’s doubtful that Black voters would rather see the incumbent win instead of electing a new president and his running mate, regardless of who or what color those people are. But in 2020, with the stakes so high and the world witnessing an American president who has no idea how to stop the coronavirus, would Biden really take that chance? Only time will tell.

Newswire- WashPost: Democratic candidates rebuke race attacks on Kamala Harris

By Eric Mack , Newsmax

This is a photo of Senator Kamala Harris (D – CA)

Attacks on the race of Sen. Kamala Harris’, D-Calif., suggesting she is not African American, have brought fellow Democratic presidential primary candidates to her defense, The Washington Post reports.
“The attacks against @KamalaHarris are racist and ugly,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., tweeted Saturday. “We all have an obligation to speak out and say so. And it’s within the power and obligation of tech companies to stop these vile lies dead in their tracks.”
Warren was pointing to Internet and social media reports rebuking Sen. Harris because she is not African American because she is the daughter of a Jamaican father and an Indian mother. Warren is one of Harris’ chief presidential primary rivals, but she too has been criticized for her claims of distant Native American heritage.
“This stuff is really vile and everyone should speak out against it,” Sen. Harris spokeswoman Lily Adams tweeted.
Adams tweet linked to The Daily Beast report outlining a rebuke of Sen. Harris as not being an “American black,” a claim that was retweeted –but since deleted – by President Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr., according to The New York Times.
“Donald Trump Jr. is a racist too. Shocker,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., tweeted.
Among the other Democratic primary candidates, rushing to the defense of one of the surging rivals:
· Former Vice President Joe Biden: “The same forces of hatred rooted in ‘birtherism’ that questioned @BarackObama’s American citizenship, and even his racial identity, are now being used against Senator @KamalaHarris. It’s disgusting and we have to call it out when we see it. Racism has no place in America.”
· South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg: “The presidential competitive field is stronger because Kamala Harris has been powerfully voicing her Black American experience. Her first-generation story embodies the American dream. It’s long past time to end these racist, birther-style attacks.”
· Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Wash.: “The coordinated smear campaign on Senator @KamalaHarris is racist and vile. The Trump family is peddling birtherism again and it’s incumbent on all of us to speak out against it.”
· Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.: “These troll-fueled racist attacks on Senator @KamalaHarris are unacceptable. We are better than this (Russia is not) and stand united against this type of vile behavior.”
Sen. Harris directly challenge Dem frontrunner Biden’s social justice record in Thursday night’s debate, which led to a surge of anti-Harris tweets within minutes, according to Caroline Orr, a behavioral scientist who studies disinformation campaigns online.

Bridge Crossing Jubilee to be this weekend in Selma, Alabama

The 53rd commemoration of the “Bloody Sunday Selma-to-Montgomery March for Voting Rights” will take place in Selma from Thursday, March 1 to Sunday, March 4, 2018. This will also be the 25th anniversary of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, featuring over 40 events to celebrate voting rights and plan for future actions to maintain and expand voting rights.
The theme of this year’s Bridge Crossing Jubilee is Many More Bridges to Cross. Most of the events being held over the four-day period are free to the public.
The initial event is the Old Fashioned Mass Meeting at Tabernacle Baptist Church on Broad Street from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Thursday, March 1, 2018. Bishop Staccato Powell of AME Zion Church is the main speaker. Tabernacle is the site of the first mass meetings of the Selma Voting Rights Struggle more than half a century ago. The Miss Jubilee Pageant for youth is also that same evening from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the School of Discovery.
On Friday, March 2, 2018, there is an Educational Summit to deal with major issues facing the education of young people, a Mock Trial on an important issue and a special rally for the “Poor People’s Campaign – A National Moral Revival” featuring Rev. William Barber. The Jubilee Golf Tournament begins early Friday morning and the day ends with a “Stomp Out the Vote” Step Show.

On Saturday, March 3, 2018, there will be a parade, the Foot Soldiers Breakfast, to honor pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement, an Intergenerational Summit, with Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the Jubilee Street Festival, to be held on Water Street close to the bridge, and the Freedom Flame Awards Banquet.
On Saturday there will also be two major workshops on “Human Rights Violation is a Devastation to Our Nation” and “What Democracy Looks Like and Making Democracy Work for US”. Many speakers including Cornel West, Ruby Sales, Raymond Winbush, Anthony Browder and others will participate. These workshops will be held at the Dallas County Courthouse.
Sunday, March 4, 2018, will begin at 7:30AM with the Martin and Coretta Scott King Unity Breakfast at Wallace Community College. Kamala Harris, U. S. Senator from California will be the keynote speaker for the breakfast. She will be joined by new Alabama U. S. Senator Doug Jones, Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Rev. Jesse Jackson and many others. After breakfast, marchers are encouraged to join church services around Selma.
At 1:30 PM Sunday, there will be a pre-march rally at the Browns Chapel Church, followed by a re-enactment of the historic Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March starting at 2:30 PM. Thousands are expected to attend and follow the original march route across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. A post-march rally and other activities will be held later that afternoon.
Faya Rose Toure, organizer of the Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee said, “We invite everyone who supports and celebrates the right to vote to come to this largest annual continuing Civil Rights Celebration, but we also must rededicate ourselves to working on the next necessary steps to carry the movement for voting rights, civil rights and human rights forward!”
Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders said: “Tens of thousands come to Selma every year to be a part of these events. There is something for everyone of all ages and all backgrounds. See you in Selma!”
For more information and a detailed schedule of all events, check the website: http://www.BridgeCrossingJubilee.com.

Trump wins, but a record number of African Americans will now serve in Congress

 

kamala-harris

Kamala Harris

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

Reality star billionaire Donald Trump won the presidency in shocking fashion, but African American candidates also made history on November 8.

There will be a record number of African Americans in Congress during the time Trump is in the White House. That number will rise from 48 to 52. There have never been more African Americans elected to Congress in American history.

Kamala Harris of California will be the second African American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. Former Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown will serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Both Republicans in the House, Mia Love (R-Utah) and Will Hurd (R-Texas) won re-election, as did the only Black Republican in the Senate, Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

Lisa Blunt Rochester was elected to the U.S. House in Delaware. Former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings will also serve in the House. Virginia State Senator Don McEachin was elected to the House in a newly configured seat in Virginia that covers Richmond.

Though there will be more African American members serving in Congress, the dilemma they find themselves in is obvious: All but three are Democrats who will be serving in the minority in the House and Senate. Being a member of the minority party in the House is one of the most powerless positions in Congress. It’s the majority that sets the agenda, the hearing schedules, the floor schedule and when the Congress will be in recess.

The Senate is different. The two African American Democrats who will serve next year, Senator-elect Harris and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) could have some opportunities to influence the agenda moving forward. The Senate will be a narrower 52-48, and the rules allow for some disruption from members of the minority party.

But it won’t be easy. Currently members of the Democratic leadership in both the House and the Senate are in a period stunned silence and are not even harping on the fact that Hillary Clinton won more votes than Trump and therefore no Trump has no real mandate.

The Democratic Party in recent years has not been anywhere as militant as the rightwing, who created the so-called Tea Party movement and the “alt-right” to deal with the growing influence of African Americans and Latinos at the ballot box. Democrats in Congress are primed for a new set of younger leaders to take the place of those who are in their mid-70s and who have failed strategically to win over voters in a country where Democrats are in the majority.

That the Democrats had two candidates over the age of 68 running for the presidency as Republicans fielded a candidate in his mid-40s is a sign it’s time for younger and more dynamic leadership on the left side of the aisle. One of those young leaders could come out of the Congressional Black Caucus, who is soon to elect a new caucus chair.

California advances 2 minority women to Senate runoff

Michael R. Blood, Associated Press

Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris thanks campaign volunteers

LOS ANGELES (AP) – In a historic first, California voters Tuesday sent two Democrats, both minority women, to a November runoff for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat.

The matchup between state Attorney General Kamala Harris and 10-term Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez marks the first time since voters started electing senators a century ago that Republicans will be absent from California’s general election ballot for the Senate. The outcome reaffirms the GOP’s diminished stature in the nation’s most populous state.

The two were among 34 candidates seeking the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, a liberal favorite first elected a generation ago, in 1992.

Under California election rules, only two candidates – the top vote-getters – advance to the November election.

Harris had a wide lead in unofficial returns and in a forceful showing was ahead in all but a handful of the state’s 58 counties. Sanchez, from Orange County, had a secure hold on second place.

“The stakes are high. The eyes of the country are on us, and I know we are prepared to do ourselves and our state and our fellow Californians proud,” Harris told cheering supporters at a celebration rally.

She warned that voters in the upcoming campaign would “hear a lot of that rhetoric that tries to divide us, that is trying to tell us that somehow, we should start pointing fingers at who all among us is to blame, instead of understanding that instead, we should be embracing and wrapping our arms around each other, understanding we are all in this together.”

Earlier in the day, Sanchez hinted they she planned to attack Harris’ record. “Hopefully we’ll see what Miss Harris stands for, I haven’t really gotten an indication of that yet,” Sanchez said of the coming runoff. “I know where I stand on issues, I’ve got 20 years of votes.”

With 3.7 million votes tallied, Harris had about 1.5 million votes, or 40 percent. Sanchez was at 17 percent, with about 640,000 votes. Harris performed strongly in the San Francisco Bay Area, her stronghold, but was also leading in strongly Hispanic Los Angeles County and was about tied with Sanchez in the congresswoman’s home county, Orange.

Republican candidates were lagging in single digits. Duf Sundheim, a Silicon Valley lawyer and a former chairman of the California Republican Party, was leading a cluster of Republicans trailing the two Democrats.

In a year when millions of voters embraced outsider candidates in the presidential contest, California Senate voters appeared impressed with the two Democrats’ deep experience.

Hoai Le, a 62-year-old mechanic from Santa Ana, said he was backing Sanchez because of her two decades in Congress. “She’s been there for a while. She knows how the system works,” said Le, an independent, after casting his ballot at a community center. “She can do a lot better than the new guy.”

Jeanette Wright of San Francisco, a 47-year-old executive assistant with the state, said she was impressed with Harris, a career prosecutor. “She’s a strong woman. She’s been around. She knows what’s going on with San Francisco. She knows what’s going on with the community,” Wright, a Democrat, said of the attorney general.

If elected this fall, Harris, the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, would set historical marks. She would become the first Indian woman to hold a Senate seat and the second black woman elected to the Senate. Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun was elected in 1992 and served one term.

Sanchez, if elected, could become one of the first Latinas to hold a U.S. Senate seat. Catherine Cortez Masto, who is also Hispanic, is the Democratic candidate for outgoing Sen. Harry Reid’s seat in Nevada.

California once was a reliable Republican state in presidential elections. But the party has seen its numbers erode for years, and it now accounts for a meager 27 percent of registered voters.

Democrats control every statewide office and both chambers of the Legislature, while holding a registration edge of nearly 2.8 million voters.

With 12 Republicans on the ballot — and none widely known to voters — the GOP vote was splintered Tuesday, undercutting the party’s chances of advancing a candidate to November.

As fellow Democrats, Harris and Sanchez hold similar positions on many issues, including abortion rights and immigration reform.

Harris, 51, a career prosecutor, has played up winning a big settlement with banks accused of improper mortgage foreclosures and her work to defend the state’s landmark climate change law.

Sanchez, 56, has stressed her national security credentials built up during two decades in Washington.