Black Women Are Just Getting Started

Black Women Are Just Getting Started
Image:Gabriella Demczuk (Getty Images)

America holds Black women in a troubling paradox, telling them, on one hand, how important they are to electing Democratic candidates, while on the other excluding them from politics. Tired of the discrepancy, one group of Brooklyn women banded together to form the Olori Sisterhood, which has risen from its origins as an informal collective to becoming a network of sought-after political power brokers.

“Everybody wants the Black vote,” Tyquana Henderson-Rivers, a political consultant and the founder of Connective Strategies Henderson-Rivers, told the New York Times, “but they still aren’t open to listening to the people who are best at messaging the Black community.”

With Senator Kamala Harris now the Vice President-elect, the Sisterhood—comprised of partners at lobbying firms, heads of consultancies, political directors and the like—sees it as a sign that Black women have begun to wield meaningful power, and that now is the time to demand more than a token acknowledgement of their importance:

“This moment is not lost on us who have been fighting for a seat at the table,” said Juanita Scarlett, a partner at the lobbying firm Bolton-St. Johns and a press secretary for Eliot Spitzer when he was state attorney general. “When our group started, our goal was to make sure we had more voices at the table, and now it’s happening.”

Biden and Harris have together picked several Black women to serve in visible positions in the forthcoming administration, which Henderson-Rivers said has led to more interest in Black women when it comes to other races. In the city’s last mayoral election, members of the Sisterhood got calls from second-tier candidates only after they’d been turned down by white consultants. Now, many members are sought-after first-choices.

“It’s the first time I’ve been this busy this far out, and I think it’s because the worth of Black women is finally being recognized,” she said.

Read the entire profile of the Olori Sisterhood in the Times here.

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