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Financing Black Women

Financial Disparities for Black Women Running For Office

Part I

“At present, our country needs women’s idealism and determination, perhaps more in politics than anywhere else.”

These words from the incredible trailblazer, Shirley Anita Chisholm, ring just as true today as they did 50 years ago. Shirley Chisholm was an American politician who became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress in 1968. She served for seven terms from 1969 to 1983 and in 1972 she was the first African American woman to campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination with her famous, line-in-the-sand slogan “Unbought and Unbossed.”

She’s constantly cited as a model and great influence for the wave of Black women we’ve seen over the last several years running for office. But for Black women following in her footsteps, they’ve had to run the gauntlet of sexism and racism, but even when they can balance such large opposition, they still have another hurdle ahead standing in the way of victory and progress. That hurdle is financing. Funding has, and is, standing in the way of monumental achievements that are right beyond the horizon for these women and we will have to dig in our pockets to ensure they have a fighting chance.

“When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.”

Money makes the world go round and money, unfortunately, is the fuel for American politics. Often, it isn’t a matter which candidate is best, more sincere, dedicated, and has the best policies, it’s whichever candidate has the most political clout and, ultimately, who has the most money. On the large stage, we’ve seen candidates like Bernie Sanders speak out against campaign financing and he famously raised some of the largest amounts of money through individual donations averaging $27. And even in his circumstance, he was sabotaged and ended up not winning the Democratic party nomination.

Women are half of the United States’ population, yet hold only 19 percent of seats in the United States House of Representatives and 21 of 100 seats in the Senate. The numbers for Black women are even smaller, they occupy only 20 seats in the House of Representatives, three positions as mayor out of 100 major American cities, Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black supreme court justice, and zero positions as governor. The good news is that these numbers are increasing and there have been record numbers of Black women entering and looking to enter politics. The last step after the want and desire is funding for which Black women there is a tremendous disparity.

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