As an African American woman, I was always taught that I should exercise my right to vote because my ancestors fought for me to do so. I was taught that civic engagement is how I push back against the system and demand equality. It’s how we remind the status quo that we too are America.
As a Black person, I often wonder: Do the political candidates of today actually see me? Are they aware of the realities of my lived experience in 2020, or are they simply regurgitating the echoes of my ancestors’ civil rights speeches? As a woman, I wonder if the political candidates recognize that intersectionality is the only way in which I come to the table with a real place to sit, or if their fight against the patriarchy will continue to uphold a whitewashed version of feminism that erases Black, Brown, and Indigenous people?
What I want every candidate running for office to know is that you can’t pander your way into the minds and hearts of voters who know themselves. Voters who are conscious of their personal struggles and the political decisions that often create their experiences can not and will not be bought. There is no jig, no popular song lyric, or ill-fit joke that will undress the burden of white supremacy and patriarchy that we are forced to carry every day. It’s my expectation that, if a candidate comes into my community to earn my vote or stands behind a podium speaking to how and why they’re the best candidate for me and my people, they’ll demonstrate an understanding that we are not a monolith.
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