Black Women Leaders Stand Up Against Attacks on Potential VP Picks

Black women are showing up for their sisters in politics, and using their collective voice to bring attention to how they are being mistreated.

A group of more than 100 black women leaders across industries is taking a stand against the recent attacks on Joe Biden’s potential picks for a running mate.

In an open letter “in response to the narrative surrounding black women nominees for vice president,” the women call out the racist and disrespectful public critiques that have been leveled at public servants such as Stacey Abrams, Kamala Harris, Susan Rice, Karen Bass, Val Demmings, and Keisha Lance Bottoms.

The letter speaks to the progress black women have led in this country, historically, and calls for everyone to be outraged by the attacks and to protect the servant leaders who are working to advance our communities:

Black women are many things. We are business executives, political strategists and elected officials, philanthropists, and activists. We are health and wellness practitioners. We are entertainers and faith leaders. We are wives, mothers, daughters, educators, and students. We set and shift culture. We build power and we are powerful.

We are the highest propensity voters in this nation. We are a coalition of Black women leaders, who, in this inflection point of the Black liberation movement, where people around the world are galvanized to action, know that the time for Black women in the United States is now.  

Over the past few months in the media, we have witnessed many Black women put forth as potential Vice Presidential candidates including former Gubernatorial Candidate Stacey Abrams, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Senator Kamala Harris, Congresswoman Val Demings, and former US Ambassador Susan Rice, be publicly critiqued. We have also watched many of these highly-credentialed women be disrespected in the media over the last few weeks. 

Regardless of your political affiliation, whether it’s the media, members of the vice presidential vetting committee, a former Governor, a top political donor, or a small town mayor: We are not your Aunt Jemimas.  The use of the racist myth of a happy, Black servant portrayed as a happy domestic worker loyal to her White employer is not lost on us.  While some of the relentless attacks on Black women and our leadership abilities have been more suggestive than others, make no mistake—we are qualified and ambitious without remorse.

We are servant leaders—motivated by a desire to uplift and advance our communities and nation. And we will not tolerate racist or sexist tropes consistently utilized in an effort to undermine our power. No matter who you are supporting for Vice President, you should be equally outraged by the blatant disrespect of Black women.

Black women have been and remain vital across sectors. We are indebted to women like Ella Baker, Septima Clarke, Shirley Chisholm, Angela Davis, Fannie Lou Hamer, Barbara Jordan, Ruby Doris Robinson, and Ida B. Wells just to name a few. These women have fought to move us forward and are collectively responsible for much of this country’s progress. Black women have been leading, and we must honor, protect, support, and uplift them.

In solidarity, 

Aimee Allison
Angela Angel
Shavon Arline-Bradley
Raymone Bain
Cora Masters Barry
Julie A. Bayley
Jacqueline L. Bazan
Nadja Bellan-White
Cheryl Benton
Talia Boone
Karen Boykin-Towns 
Rhonda Briggins
Roslyn Brock
Clayola Brown
Dy Brown
LaTosha Brown
Erin Broyard-Stennis
Cassandra Butcher
Valeisha Butterfield Jones
Melanie Campbell
Yolanda Caraway
Glynda Carr
Lynette Castille-Hall
Candi Castleberry
Emmalesha Christman
Reecie Colbert
Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole
Maurita Coley
Christina Cue
Maya R. Cummings
The Reverend Leah D. Daughtry
Marilyn Davis
Suzanne DePasse
Tara DeVeaux
Michelle Dubois
Dr. Hazel N. Dukes
Jotaka L. Eaddy
Lenora Abraham Eaddy
Sonya Ede-Williams
Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins
Heather Foster
Michelle Gadson-Williams
A’shanti Gholar
Monique Gilliam
Amy R. Goldson
Trudy Grant
Nicole Grayson
Linda Mercado Greene
Mamee Groves
Joyce Harley
Kynderly Haskins
Kristi Henderson
Holli Holiday
Tamara Houston
Ifeoma Ike, Esq.
Amy Elisa Jackson
Debbie Jarvis
Keisha Sutton James 
Michelle Jawando
Marissa Jennings
Star Jones
Suzanne Kay
Niija Kuykendall
Dr. Nicol Turner Lee
L. Toni Lewis, MD
Peggy Lewis
Jeanine Liburd
Chanceé Lundy
Dee Marshall
Zola Mashariki
Bre Maxwell
Flo McAfee
Alexis Mitchell
Minyon Moore
Laura Murphy
Rachel Noerdlinger
Denise Nicholas
Dr. Amira Ogunleye
Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver
Uriridiakoghene Onovakpuri
Barbara A. Perkins
Karen Carter Peterson
Tracie Pough
Andrea Pugh-Kelley
Tamisha Raqib
Libi Rice
Karen Richardson
Ebonie Riley
Karen A. Robinson
Lydia Robinson
Angela Rye
Kailee Scales
Amanda Seales
Dana Vickers Shelley
Janine Sherman Barrois
V. Joy Simmons
Eris Sims
Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i
Denise Young Smith
Marcia Smith 
Vanessa Spencer
Sherri Killins Stewart Ed.D
Lyric Swinton
Makani Themba
Rev. Dr. Regena Thomas
Sandi Thomas
Angela Bundrant Turner
Nicole Venable
Christine White
L. Joy Williams