Why We Created the Black Women Running for Office Database and An Important Update to It
So what had happened was… the day after the Alabama elections between Roy Moore and Doug Jones, America got one more confirmation that Black women are superheros who save the day time and time again. 96% of Black women who voted showed up to vote for Doug Jones, who wasn’t even someone we loved. We just chose to partake in harm reduction so the proven pedophile, Roy Moore, who was endorsed by Mango Mussolini, would not win. Their votes made all the difference, as 63% of white women showed up to vote for the devil. This is why I said they need to get their shit together.
Trust. Black. Women. We get shit done!
And it is not our jobs to always play Captain Save-a-Hoes. I am tired of the world being run into the ground by white men who prove time and time again that they are ill-equipped.
So I went looking for a database of Black women who are running for office in 2018, because I wanted to know what sistas are trying to run things, so we can push them forward and upward. My first web stop was Higher Heights for America, which is an organization that is chiefing the charge to propel Black women in politics forward, with their #BlackWomenLead campaign. Their work is deep, and includes training and capacity building for Black women who are considering politics. We can’t have a seat at the table if we aren’t even walking through the door.
Higher Heights doesn’t have a database, but they do have “Sistas to Watch” which is a short list of Black women candidates they’ve vetted and endorsed. That was a good start but I was looking for something more comprehensive. Is there a central place to find out what Black women are running for office around the country? I didn’t find one, so I asked on Twitter. And then on Facebook. People were dropping all types of links to candidates and I wanted it to live somewhere so others can know about these women.
That night, I enlisted the help of 3 other women: Sili Recio, Lucrecer Braxton and Candace Jones. And I asked them if they could help me cull through my Twitter mentions, and my Facebook thread to create a document of everyone folks had dropped info on. From 6pm to 3am, the 4 of us worked in Google Docs to put it all together, formatting HTML and creating spreadsheets. That is how we were able to put together the first list of 100+ Black women, which I then posted on my site the next morning. In that one day, we spent probably 40 (wo)man hours on the list, which we alphabetized by state for people to scroll through.
I made it clear on the page that this was not a list of people I or we endorse. It was basically a phone book. It was up to everyone who saw to click through to candidate websites to find out their stances. <—– important.
And when I dropped it, people really showed it love, amplifying it all over social. And folks were thanking me for it. It’s really easy for the person in the front to get all the credit, and that database of Black women running for office in 2018 was not just MY doing. It truly was a collaboration, and I wanna give a super shoutout to Sili, Lucrecer and Candace. It could not have happened without them. I mean that literally. It was on my site, so it got visibility, but those women put in A LOT of work. Thank you, Sili, Lu and Candace. I see you. I appreciate you. This was team work making the dream work. I’m gonna buy you all short sets with matching bucket hats. ???? ???? ????
Now. As soon as we posted the list, people were letting us know who was missing from it. We knew it wasn’t complete, of course, but we wanted to at least start somewhere. So we started a Google Form and asked people to enter any missing candidates in there. And that we would be going on break for the holidays so no updates would be made til 2018. I even put in BOLD FONT that folks shouldn’t email me directly about edits and additions. Y’all. People almost drove me nuts with how much they ignored that directive. WHY DON’T PEOPLE READ??? Drove. Me. Nuts. I had to remove the “contact” page from my site before I stopped getting messages of “hey add this person.”
Soon enough, the Google Form had over 200 submissions of additions or edits to the list. We knew updating this manually would not be sustainable because this labor of love could get overwhelming quick. Me and the ladies were trying to figure out what system to put in place to allow this to be more efficient when we got an email from a guy named Jeff Reifman. He’s a coder who was inspired by what happened in Alabama and saw the list. He offered to help us code an actual database that would be easy to browse and allow us not to have to do so much manual work to keep it updated.
We said YES, and Jeff went to work. I decided to move the database off my site because it is not about ME, and should have its own place. So I purchased the perfect URL and hosting, and then built the site as Jeff worked on the actual database. We put them together and they are now ready for you to see and use to make smart decisions on who to support in 2018 races around the United States.
Go visit BlackWomeninPolitics.com! That is the new home of the list of Black women running for office in the United States. There, you will find the database of 392 candidates (as of January 22, 2018). It is browsable by state and candidate name. You can also submit anyone who is missing from the list AND submit edits for any candidate that is currently there.
The goal is to make it easier to find the information we need to support those we have got to support. Remember: YOU do research from the links provided to candidate websites. Again, the database is not an endorsement. These 2018 elections matter so much (locally, state-wide, nationally) so we need all the information we can get.
Do research. Donate to the women who believe in what you believe in. Support their campaigns. This makes it slightly easier to do it because info is right there.
We will make regular updates to the list. If you or someone you know should be added, fill out this form. Updates won’t be made immediately. If there are errors, give us time to fix. Please DO NOT message us about additions or edits to the list. Use the form.
And thanks again to the rag tag group of folks that helped make this happen. True labor of love.