Dear women of America, particularly women of color,
You don’t know me, but I need to ask you to do something. It’s difficult and possibly unpleasant. But I’m convinced the future of our country depends on it.
Please run for office.
The white men who are in charge of pretty much everything have proven unable to create the kind of world we want to live in. That’s why America needs you.
Please consider running for office at any level. School board. City council. State legislature. Public service commission. It all matters. And from there you might decide to seek higher office where, after all, there’s plenty of room for women.
Want to know where women of color absolutely dominate the political field? Serving as Delegates to the House from Washington DC, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands – all the territories that do not get a vote in Congress.
At the state level, it’s only slightly better.
There are 312 statewide elected offices – governors, lieutenant governors, state attorneys general, commissioners, etc. Across the country, only 7 of these positions are held by women of color. Another 67 are held by white women.
And the state legislatures? Of 7,383 state legislators, 1,832 are women. Of those, 397 are women of color. Don’t even get me started about the mayors.
You see my point. We need you, women of America – especially women of color. We need your particular life experiences, your vision, your voice, your leadership.
Imagine where we could be today if the U.S. had a hundred Barbara Lees. A thousand Barbara Jordans. Even a few Shirley Chisholms, blazing toward the White House, unbought and unbossed every step of the way.
It’s true that the current Congress sparkles with talented women. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the first Indian-American Congresswoman from Washington state. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate. Senator Kamala Harris, the first African American to represent California.
Wait. It’s 2017 and we’re still having firsts?
Maybe you could claim a first of your own. Be the first woman in your family to run for office. My friend Vanessa Aramayo is running for Congress in California. Why? Because she’s fed up and she wants something better for her children. Don’t you?
Unless more women become policy makers, I don’t see how things can change. I know I’m asking a lot, women of America, but I hope you’ll think about it. I trust you with our future.
Run. Win. Lead. And put me on your mailing list.