Hundreds of thousands of women marched on the streets in response to Donald Trump’s election in 2017. A year after his inauguration, women marched again. This time though, they’re also taking their fight to the ballot box.
A record number of women are running for office in the US (a phenomenon that Time Magazine has dubbed “a pink wave”). Writer Luvvie Ajayi spearheaded a volunteer-run effort to prominently feature the black women putting their names forward.
The site—Black Women in Politics—is a database of all black women running for office in 2018. The database currently has 410 black female candidates running in federal, state, and local elections. Users can submit a black woman candidate to the list, as well as submit edits for any candidate that is currently on the database. The creators of the database note, “this is purely a list of Black women running, and not an endorsement.”
In her blog, Ajayi notes that the goal of the database is to “make it easier to find the information we need to support those we have got to support.” The site’s homepage prominently features Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to be elected to the US in 1968 and first African-American to seek the nomination for presidency. She once said: “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” The famous quote remains a powerful rallying cry for women activists across the country.
Trump’s election highlighted an ugly truth within the women’s right movement: his victory would not have been possible without the support of white women. Overall, 53% of white women voted for Trump—a fact that’s been highlighted at demonstrations against the president. There was a similar pattern when women in Alabama went to the polls in a heated Senate election. While 98% of black women backed pro-choice Democratic candidate Doug Jones, just 26% of white women did the same (the rest swung for Republican candidate Roy Moore, who faced a slew of allegations that he harassed and molested teenage girls).
The exit polls lead to an out-pouring of love for black women over the last year. The creators of the database are calling for those same people who claimed that black women saved America, to finally put them in the driving seat.