“I know I’m in the presence of the community,” Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) said to a room of mainly Black women who gathered at Washington D.C.’s Walter E. Lee Convention Center on Wednesday for the first day of the 2019 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference. Her opening remarks helped to kick-off a powerful 3-hour event in which thought leaders, political leaders, and engaged citizens alike, convened to unpack the findings of the newest study conducted by Black Women’s Roundtable and ESSENCE Magazine.
Before digging into the research, Bass made it clear that going into 2020 Black women need to be focused on “getting it right,” (read: removing Donald Trump from his elected office). Based on the BWR x ESSENCE poll, 83 percent of Black women share Bass’ sentiments. That’s the percentage of them that said Trump gets an ‘F’ for his job as the commander-in-chief.
“You know that we know how to get it right,” Bass declared. “A few years ago some people couldn’t get it right.”
In 2016, an overwhelming 94 percent of Black women, according to exit polls, voted for Hillary Clinton to become the first woman POTUS. For Bass and the other panelists, which included ESSENCE Magazine’s News & Politics Director Yesha Callahan, and Melanie Campbell, convener of BWR, there is a very clear and obvious mission to make sure the person elected in November 2020 is one who will put the issues of Black women at the forefront of their agenda.
Bass, who serves as the current chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus said that having Trump in office poses an “existential threat to our planet.” She added that he’s “undoing legislation that we fought for for decades, and dismantling agencies.”
To add to that argument and shed a light on some of the key issues Black women should be focused on, Dr. Avis Jones Deweever shared the concerns and feedback of the nearly 1100 people who took the BWR x ESSENCE Poll. The roundtable of more than 20 advocates and activists weighed in on everything from climate change to the humanitarian crisis in the Bahamas, to the need to reform our education system.
One panelist summed up the day’s event by saying, “When we maximize our power we will be the decision-makers on who will be in that White House in 2021.”