Today we are talking about the Black women of America and their place in the nexus of Voting, Reproductive and Equal Rights, Yes!
Glynda Carr, the co-founder and president of Higher Heights for America and #BlackWomenLead is our guest today. As we know from the 2020 election, it was the powerful organizing of Black women in places like Georgia. That previously red state not only propelled the Biden/Harris ticket to success and delivered two Democratic Senators to Congress. But have Black women of America benefited from their heroic efforts? And will they do it all again in 2022 and 2024?
We talk with Glynda Carr of Higher Heights on how to identify, support and endorse Black women running at every level of political office in the country. And we examine the prospects of the Black woman vote.
All episodes begin and end with the 2017 single “Rise” by rock group Betty (www.hellobetty.com)
That’s the work. How do we expand Black women’s political power?Glynda Carr, 11:54
In this episode:
Carol opens the show by stating that just before filming, the Supreme Court released their official decision overturning Roe v. Wade (00:40)
Gloria Feldt introduces our guest, Glynda Carr (07:20)
Getting out the vote in the Black community (16:00)
Dreaming big and demanding more (26:10)
How you can help (30:49)
The Hosts Start by Sharing What They’re Pissed About
Carol is pissed about the news that came down right before taping that the Supreme Court has indeed overturned Roe v. Wade.
Betty Spence is pissed that the Kansas Supreme Court decided that the state constitution doesn’t prohibit partisan gerrymandering. She does like the one dissenting judge’s assertion that such a decision amounts to “political chicanery” (02:27)
Sherrye Henry is pissed about Roe v. Wade being overturned, even though it wasn’t necessarily surprising. In hopeful news, Sherrye was proud of Kathy Hochul’s response. The governor of New York said that Lady Liberty was still shining bright for women in America. She also stated that New York will be a safe harbor for those in need of abortion care.
Gloria Feldt is pissed about the ruling, as well, but she also feels that a clean overturn of Roe v. Wade will be the thing that finally awakens people to the assault that’s been going on against voting, equal, and reproductive rights.
Glynda Carr and Higher Heights
Although Glynda’s initial response to the Dobbs decision was this GIF …
… she is ready to get up and continue the fight. She recalls how she and Kimberly Peeler-Allen had a meeting after the 2010 midterm elections. This venting session in a Brooklyn cafe provided the spark for Higher Heights, which they wanted to build as a political home for Black women.
It was clear in 2016 that people were not ready to see women in leadership at the highest level, and they’re especially uncomfortable with Black women being in positions of power. Despite not yet seeing women at the highest level of federal office, Carol discusses how Glynda’s work was critical in turning Georgia blue in the 2020 election, and she asks what Glynda sees on the path ahead for 2022.
On the day of recording, there were 137 days until the midterm election. Glynda discusses that there will be ebbs and flows in engagement, and that the day that Roe v. Wade was overturned will serve as a galvanizing moment. However, voters will have to go back to their day-to-day lives and figure out how to pay for gas or deal with long COVID or any number of other issues.
Perhaps the most critical thing to understand is that Black women are multi-issue voters, and reproductive rights are just a piece of what’s important to them. It’s up to organizers to use the Dobbs decision to show how this Supreme Court ruling lays the groundwork for further rights to be stripped away.
How to Register Black Women Voters
Voter turnout is notoriously low in the midterm elections, and getting out the vote is further complicated by the increasing patchwork of voter suppression laws. Many people are actually losing their voter registration status, so simply maintaining that voter registration is a huge hurdle.
The reason why you invest in a Black woman voter: she doesn’t go to the polls alone. She brings her house, her block, her church, her sorority, and her water cooler.Glynda Carr, 18:48
Political engagement isn’t just limited to voting, and Glynda talks about how Black women are running across the country up and down the ballot. They’re also running in a variety of communities, not just communities of color. She talks about the incremental gains that they’ve seen at the federal level, and Higher Heights is working with partners to support Black women running in down ballot elections.
Governors (with an S) and Senators (with an S)
Glynda Carr discusses Deidre Dejear and Stacey Abrams, who are running for governor in Iowa and Georgia, respectively. One of the powers that Glynda sees in Higher Heights is that they can imagine electing more than one Black woman governor in one cycle.
In addition, Black women are woefully underrepresented in the Senate. This was evident in 2020, when Kamala Harris ascended to the White House. Even though she took the second-highest position of power in the country, she left the Senate with no Black women Senators. Higher Heights is working to change that.
How You Can Help
Go to higherheightsforamerica.org, the political home for Black women. Use #BlackWomenLead on socials.
Gather your tribe. If you’re not a Black woman, be an ally and bring your friends to teach them about allyship.
Follow and support these amazing Black women running for election or re-election:
- Letitia “Tish” James, running for Attorney General of New York
- Andrea Campbell, running for Attorney General of Massachusetts
- Tanisha Sullivan, running for Secretary of State in Massachusetts
- Stephanie Thomas, running for Secretary of State in Connecticut
- Shirley Nash Weber, running for Secretary of State in California
- Karen Bass, running for Mayor of Los Angeles
- Muriel Bowser, running for Mayor of Washington DC
Find the full list of Higher Heights endorsed candidates here.
As president, CEO and co-founder of Higher Heights for America, Glynda C. Carr is at the center of the national movement to grow Black women’s political power from the voting booth to elected office.
In 2011, Carr and Kimberly Peeler-Allen co-founded Higher Heights to address the dearth of organizing resources for politically active Black women and the lack of support for those who were considering seeking elected office. Through her leadership, the organization has developed several innovative programs and efforts that have quickly solidified its reputation as the political home and go-to resource for progressive Black women.