By Erika Adams (Women of Color for Hillary)
With roughly one week until Election Day, Women of Color for Hillary, a national grassroots and digital network of women looking to help elect America’s first woman president, descended upon the River City to make a simple declaration: #ShesGotMyBack.
Led by Reta Jo Lewis, a former diplomat who served in the Department of State under Secretary Clinton, Women of Color for Hillary (or @WoC4Hillary, as it’s known online) assembled a cadre of national talent and some of Jacksonville’s finest during a recent rally. “We came together in solidarity, understanding the importance of this moment,” said Representative Mia Jones who represented Florida’s 14th District for eight years. “This isn’t just about electing our country’s first woman president on the heels of two successful terms by our first Black president. This is about ensuring our continued progress as a nation.”
State Senator Audrey Gibson, representing District 9, Pastor Debra Bernard Shaw, Senior Pastor at Believers in Christ International Christian Center, and Jacksonville’s Former First Lady, Mrs. Santhea Hicks-Brown were among the notable attendees who took part in this event. Former Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman spoke on the program, as did two of “The Colored Girls,” an intimate collective of five Black Democratic Women, Rev. Leah D. Daughtry, CEO for the 2008 & 2016 Democratic National Conventions, and Yolanda Caraway, President & CEO of The Caraway Group. The State Political Director for Hillary for America’s Florida operation, Keenan Austin, rounded out the cast of advocates who came with one primary message: vote for Hillary.
“We know what’s at stake in this election,” said Secretary Herman, who validated Secretary Clinton’s long-time struggle for the rights of women, children, and people of color. “She is committed, caring, and so willing, always, to roll up her sleeves to do the work that needs to be done. She…has labored in the vineyard for us, our people, and our country. We could have no more wiser and experienced choice for President of These United States.” Caraway echoed the sentiment, noting that Secretary Clinton “has an amazing heart. From the time she was a young woman, she’s always done things for women and children. And her heart has only grown bigger over time. She’s an amazing woman.”
Rev. Daughtry encouraged attendees to not only vote and take other people to the polls, but to stay engaged after Election Day. “We have to remain more engaged after the election if Hillary wins. We must be aware, advocate, and act. It’s not enough to vote and then go sit down on the couch. It’s our responsibility as the folks who are employing a president of the United States to check in on them, let them know what you need, and then hold them accountable.”
The idea of voting as a first step and consistent civic engagement thereafter seems a consistent theme for @WoC4Hillary. The effort was established to elect Secretary Clinton, but having received tremendous traction over the past few months, it appears primed to continue engaging women of color on a variety of issues critical to Secretary Clinton’s success as a president. “We are about the business of supporting women and families,” says Lewis. “Secretary Clinton epitomizes our core values, and once she is elected, we hope to be a reliable network of supporters to help push her agenda forward.”