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women of color in politics

The strides toward diversity in politics continue in historic firsts for women of color

In recent years, we have seen a rise in women of color elected into office. This rise is a step forward for minority women in politics, who have historically been underrepresented in elected office. 

According to research from Rutgers’ Center for American Women and Politics (CAMP), “of the 144 women serving in the 117th U.S. Congress, 50, or 34.7%, are women of color. Women of color constitute 9.2% of the total 535 members of Congress. The record high for women of color serving in Congress was 52, set between January 3, 2021, and January 18, 2021.” 

Additionally, of the women serving in statewide elective executive offices, 19.1%, are women of color and women of color constitute 5.8% of the total 310 statewide elective executives. In positions of state legislators, women of color makeup 26.5% of the 2,290 women state legislators serving nationwide and constitute 8.2% of the total 7,383 state legislators.

Last year’s election saw a big, historic first for women of color, with Kamala Harris becoming the first woman of color, the first Black person, and the first South Asian person elected to the position of Vice President. 

Other firsts include Cori Bush, who won her general election race, making her the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress and Marilyn Strickland, who won her race in Washington’s 10th Congressional District Making her the first African American member of the Washington state delegation and the first African American from the Pacific Northwest in Congress. 

This year, the stride toward greater diversity continued with more historic firsts for women of color in politics. 

The historic firsts continue for women of color 

In Boston, Michelle Wu became the first woman and the first Asian American elected as the city’s mayor. Prior to Wu, Boston had only elected white, male leaders. Her win is a progressive step forward for diversity and representation in politics. 

women of color in politics,

Michelle Wu becomes first woman and Asian American mayor of Boston. (Image via Instagram)

In the city of Durham, N.C., another woman was elected as mayor in a historic first. In her victory speech, Elain O’Neal told supporters, “Together you have given me the honor and trust of being your next mayor — the first Black woman mayor of Durham. This is a dream that I never had, but it’s now my reality.”

New York City also saw Shahana Hanif become the first Muslim woman elected to City Council. 

“We deserve a city that protects its most vulnerable, a city that has equitable education, a city invested in climate solutions that are local and driven by communities, a city where our immigrant neighbors feel at home and heard and safe. This work requires all of us to keep showing up even though the election is over,” she said in a statement Tuesday. 

You might be interested: Alma and Colin Powell’s lasting American promise to the nation’s youth 

Finally, Republican Winsome Sears became the first woman elected to the office of lieutenant governor in Virginia. 

“It’s a historic night — yes, it is — but I didn’t run to make history. I just wanted to leave it better than I found it,” Sears said in a speech Wednesday morning. “I’m telling you that what you are looking at is the American Dream.”

NAA Annoucement

New America Alliance Summit launches Women’s Initiative

NAA AnnoucementThe New America Alliance’s 14th Wall Street Summit is convening in New York City once again on November 18-20 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Renowned Latino business leaders, entrepreneurs and prominent government officials will gather to showcase the participation of American Latinos in the national economy and to promote a greater inclusion across all sectors of economic and political activity.

In addition to the traditional U.S. Mayors Forum & Luncheon, Economic Development in America’s Cities, this year the highlights of the summit include three important discussion panels:

  • New Generation of American Latino Leaders: Renovate, Remix, Rise, a session dedicated to promote and enhance the dimension of the next wave of Latino leaders’ rising stars;
  • American Latinas, Leadership and Economic Force, a panel dedicated to discuss the increasing presence of Latinas as the propeller of the US economy’s growth, the barriers that still exist for their economic empowerment, and a new initiative that will target Latinas in business in the United States;
  • Fund of Funds and Diversity Assets Managers: State and Outlook of Diverse Management and Investment, a productive discussion about the state of inclusion of Latinos in financial management and investment.

In the last 15 years, or since NAA’s inception, the economic power and political representation of Latinos has increased exponentially; however, political presence at the voting polls, political representation in offices –federal, state or local–, access to investment capital or the representation of Latinos and Latinas in corporate America is still disproportionately low. NAA’s mission is to advance the economic development of the American Latino community through its leaders, who have a special responsibility to guide “the process of building the forms of capital most crucial to Latino progress – economic capital, political capital, human capital and the practice of philanthropy.”

Guest speakers and activities

In addition to NAA’s Board members and executive staff, a three-day agenda full of activities include the Hon. Mary Gonzalez, Texas House of Representatives; the Hon. Alejandra Y. Castillo, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency, US Department of Commerce; Alejandra Ceja, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics; the Hon. Letitia “Tish” James, Public Advocate for New York City; Javier Saade, Assoc. Administrator, Office of Investment and Innovation, US Small Business Administration; the Hon. Alberto Bacó Bagué, Secretary of Economic Development & Commerce of Puerto Rico; and the Hon. Angel Taveras, Mayor, Providence, RI, from the public sector, and several important business leadership representatives from the private sector.

For additional information and registration, please visit New America Alliance.