With a record number of Black women expected to run for Congress this year, hundreds of them have descended on Washington D.C. this week for the 7th Annual Black Women’s Roundtable Women of Power National Summit.
Dubbed “Time for a Power Shift,” the three-day gathering includes sessions on running for office, community organizing and protecting voting rights, USA Today reports. The goal is to leverage the power of the Black woman’s vote.
“Black women are recognizing more and more the power we have in our vote,” said Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable Public Policy Network. “It’s not just electing public officials, but being elected ourselves.”
The election of Donald Trump in 2016 sparked the interest of more women, especially Black women, to run for office, according to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. Though the policy center does not have an exact number of women likely to run for office later this year, they suspect that a majority will be Black women.
“I would bet money that there are more women of color this time running than have ever run before in a primary just because there are more women and it’s all on the Democratic side,” said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP).
In January, writer Luvvie Ajayi created the Black women in politics website, following the election of Alabama Senator Doug Jones. The document evolved into a searchable database, which lists more than 400 names of Black women running for federal, state and local offices in 2018.
“There are Black women running for political office all over the United States, and we need to know who they are,” the website says. “It is abundantly clear that we need to start following the lead of Black women because we show up and do what is important, even when we are being disenfranchised and sabotaged from doing the work. 2018 is especially important because midterm elections are coming up. We need all the information we can get.”
For more information on the women running for office in 2018, check out Ajayi’s website here.