There’s no doubt that the last four years have been the most trying many of us have ever lived through. For Black and brown folks and those from other impacted communities, the burden of the outgoing administration was the heaviest. Despite the compounding pandemics of COVID-19 and police terror, Black folks still managed to organize and build political power within our communities across the nation.
Over the summer, we witnessed activists and organizers pour into the streets protesting the state-sanctioned violence against Black and brown bodies. This was not a blip in history, it was a reckoning years in the making. It was an uprising that unified and catapulted millions of folks into action and organizers into hyper drive. The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) has become the largest movement in history because of years of tireless organizing. Strategists and activists engaging in electoral work were base-building long before Trump — and that work will continue through this new administration and beyond.
But as those documenting this moment start naming the victors responsible for this historic win, let the record show that it was the organizing, power-building and electoral strategy of Black people and those fighting in defense of Black lives, who won Biden and Harris the White House.
The Electoral Justice Project of M4BL has spent the last four years in deep partnership with many of the Black organizations and coalitions around the country that led us to victory. For example, In Georgia, SONG Power led by Mary Hooks and the New Georgia Project led by Nse Ufot have been organizing across the state for years, addressing the systemic issues that we know inform people’s electoral decisions. They, along with leaders like Stacey Abrams and her team at Fair Fight, did this country a great service in registering more than 800, 000 voters ahead of this election. Those Black women were a part of the history that was made when Georgia flipped to blue for the first time in three decades.
In Michigan, Detroit Action, led by Brenden Snyder, and One Love Global, led by M4BL leader Angela Austin, moved a powerful organizing strategy that helped close the gap in the final days of the election, aiding the narrative that Black voters and those voting in defense of Black lives in cities like Detroit were using their electoral power to fight for change.
In Arizona, Mass Liberation, led by Lola Nsango, fought hard in the heart of Maricopa County to ensure Black and brown folks in Phoenix were heard loud and clear, and today we’re seeing the fruits of that work.
This win isn’t the result of Republican voters feeling the moral pull to vote for Biden after years of their party ignoring the violence and failed leadership of Trump’s administration. We know that the majority of white voters actually doubled down on the racist, sexist rhetoric of 45 and voted for four more years of the same.
This win is the result of Black voters and allies in cities like Detroit, Milwaukee, Atlanta and Phoenix, people who were tired of having to fight for the rights and resources we all deserve, and Biden, along with the democratic establishment, owe us all a thank you.
For many, this election wasn’t about candidates, it was about changing the conditions our communities were living in. It was about ensuring that fascists did not seize power for four more years and that we are able to move closer to living in a democracy that honors and values the votes, lives and voices of all of our people. Our movement knew what it needed to fight for, strategize and organize around to secure this victory. Everything we gained in this country we had to fight for and removing the outgoing administration was no different.
So, dear Democrats, you’re welcome. Please know that we expect to be considered when you’re developing your agendas on how you’re going to address the systemic issues impacting our communities. You’ve seen what our movements can do. Our votes and our strategies delivered this victory.
There’s so many things we’re working toward, one of which is the passage of the BREATHE Act, which has already garnered more than 150,000 community co-sponsors. The BREATHE Act is historic civil rights legislation that will divest from ineffective, racist policing and invest in our people and communities.
We expect this administration to take seriously the role that Black people and those standing in solidarity with us played in ending the most horrific presidential administration in modern history, and that they give us our flowers in the way of acknowledgement, but more importantly an open door and willingness to do the hard work that’s necessary to making this nation a safer, more just place for Black people.