Why Black Women Bleed
November is synonymous with elections and giving thanks and this year fared much better for Democrats for statewide and congressional offices. Democrats won back a third of seats previously vacated in the 2010 tea party wave, and media dubbed the incoming congressional representatives "the young guns." It was an uphill climb for Dems to address lagging voter participation in midterm races and down ballot candidates, but gains made eight years later due to increased political hyperawareness and grassroots organizing has served the party well. It cannot be overstated that these progressive hurdles were cleared through the tireless and underrated wins of the most reliable and historically CONSISTENT voting bloc: BLACK WOMEN.
And so this month of giving thanks was a bit bitter for me. I was in CNN's HQ studios when Stacey Abrams held a 5:00 evening press conference twelve minutes in length acknowledging that former Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp would be certified as Georgia's next governor. I knew that this was a possibility given Kemp's rich history of suppressing the vote of Georgians since his appointment to the office of Secretary of State in 2010 by former governor turned Trump Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue. Kemp was tapped after Karen Handel stepped down to pursue an unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial run. Nonetheless, under Kemp's watch over one million Georgia voters were not only purged from the rolls, voter information was compromised and released TWICE from his office.
My visceral response to Abrams' speech was one of great pride but also of deep hurt and exhausting pain. I felt every emotion as a supportive and proud Southwest Georgian, an Abrams ambassador, a Black woman, a believe and a politico - tired of media commentary overlooking the power of Black candidates and the coattails that assuredly benefit. It was another gut punch that amplified the #ThankYouBlackWomen meaningless echo chamber that conveniently overlooks the price that Black women pay for supporting the weight of a nation.
The vote is as unprotected as the Black women that organize, strategize, lead and fight for its citizenry. We die at rates unheard of compared to our counterparts as it relates to domestic partner violence, police violence, maternal mortality, breast cancer, diabetic and heart disease - our overall physical and mental health are not factored into preventative care or messaging. Why? Why are Black women still seemingly considered three fifths human150 years post Compromise? Why are we worked to no end for a system that does little to support our physical advancement of this country?
Black women bleed into the very soil and shape of this county while offered little to no recompense. It is why we die prematurely due to weathering no matter the profession or celebrity status. It is why the dream that still demands does not include an assured agenda of equity for its most loyal base.
The hemorrhaging of Black women while its beneficiaries reap generational successes should be intolerable - but it is when Black women are not afforded the luxury of humanity.