By Brittany Bullard (Women of Color for Hillary)
The election of the nation’s first woman president is no small feat, particularly in an election year fraught with reality TV antics and unexpected twists and turns. Despite the presence of some unfamiliar characters in this year’s politics scene, a tried as tested voting bloc – women of color – are once again making themselves known in a big way in the days leading up to November 8.
Since the primaries, Women of Color for Hillary, a digitally savvy, grassroots organization run by former diplomat Reta Jo Lewis, has engaged in a bottoms up campaign across the country helping to give voice to the issues that matter most to women of color and their candidate of choice this election season. Though the campaign has focused significant efforts on creating an impact in battleground states, the movement also found a home in the District.
At a recent rally in Washington, D.C., WoC4Hillary as supporters affectionately call it, assembled dozens of women excited to show their support for Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton as the country’s 45th Commander in Chief.
“As a woman and a woman of color, and a mother of a daughter, it has been a tremendous opportunity for me to help elect our first woman President,” said Shawna Whatley, a Senior Public Policy Advisor with Holland and Knight. “I have watched her for a number of years be a strong and unflinching advocate for children, woman and people of color. She is smart, she listens to new ideas, engages folks to take part in the national conversation of developing sound public policy and she follows through on her commitments.”
In the District, as around the country, women of color are coordinating a campaign to tackle the massive assault against intellect being orchestrated by Donald Trump and his surrogates. By leveraging the strength of local ties and national connectivity, WoC4Hillary has organized a powerful tool against Trump’s candidacy. By highlighting Secretary Clinton’s strengths on healthcare, education, jobs, and her innovative strategies to support small businesses, WoC4Hillary positions well Clinton’s policy message with a personal touch.
“I’ve been very impressed with the organization that Reta has put together and have attended a couple of #WoC4Hillary events,” said Chantale Wong, who’s worked on both Clinton presidential campaigns. “They are always well organized and the right people are there. It’s critical to have people of color, and particularly women of color, being more involved in political matters. #WoC4Hillary provides that venue.” Wong, who’s also campaigning for Katie McGinty as Pennsylvania’s newest U.S. Senator, thinks that both women have the right focus and electing them “is critical for all the issues that affect women – pay equity, women’s right to choose, breaking the glass ceiling. Besides,” she said, Secretary Clinton “is a passionate advocate for children, families and those that are less fortunate.”
Asked about the Democratic candidate for president, Watley summed up well what seems to be a mutual sentiment held among WoC4Hillary supporters, “being with Hillary this past year has allowed me to work with other dynamic women and hear their stories, and we all agree that there is no better person in America to serve as our next President of our great country.”