Doug Jones Wins Alabama!
On Tuesday, December 12, 2017, Doug Jones won the Alabama election for the U.S. Senate seat, previously vacated by our Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. We are still waiting to hear that the Alabama Secretary of State, John Merrill, has certified the vote. Mitch McConnell has made exasperating comments indicating he does not want to seat Jones in the Senate until January. Merrill has said the vote would be certified on Dec. 26, after the Senate goes home, at the earliest — and possibly as late as Jan. 3. It is important that we all call our Senators to support seating Jones as soon as possible, With the tax scam vote on the horizon, the DREAM Act hanging in the balance, we need every vote possible!
The Alabama victory was astounding for a number of reasons. First, the fact that a Democrat won the election was remarkable. Jones is probably the most liberal senator elected from Alabama in a very long time. Secondly, he beat the candidate that the GOP bet everything on, Roy Moore–a deeply flawed man. Unbelievably, many Alabamians were willing to overlook or discount the many women who came forward with stories of sexual misconduct by Moore when they were just teenagers.
Thirdly, and probably most significantly, Doug Jones the Democrat was elected by a huge voter turnout of black women, along with black men. Polls showed that approximately 98% of black women voted for Jones. Black women were posting everywhere about their voting experiences. It was amazing. As evidenced by the hashtag #votelikeblackwomen, and others, circulating on social media, it quickly became clear that black women had risen up and shown us how to resist. Many are calling for (and have been calling for) the rest of us to sit up and listen to black women, women of color, any marginalized women, and show them the respect that they deserve.
In order to elevate and amplify the voices of black women, it behooves all of us to listen to and read their words, and take heed. To that end, two black women leaders contributed their knowledge and insight to this Round Up. Both Alycia Wright and Lecia Michelle wrote about their perspectives on the Alabama vote, and how we can support black women going forward.
Alycia Wright is member of the TWW USA Leadership Team – Diversity & Activism 101, TWW Richmond, Virginia Leadership team – Community Partnerships and Diversity, a homeschooling mama to four, and ¼ of the PerSisters RVA Podcast. Alycia reflected on the meaning and significance of the recent vote in Virginia:
“The day after the election when all the demographic statistics were published, it was no surprise to me that Black folks, and Black women specifically, were at the top of the “who showed up the most” list. I believe it’s because Black women understand the repercussions on our parents, ourselves and our children if we do not act in the best interest of our people at all times. We may not be in love with the candidate, or with the party for that matter. We may not believe the candidate will do much for the uplifting of our community or aggressively seek to right the many injustices we face–but we have a long and proud history of doing whatever must be done to keep our families safe and provide the best chance to not only survive, but to thrive. So, when I saw that 91% percent of Black women (in Virginia), in record numbers, came out to vote for the Democratic nominee, this made perfect sense. It was self preservation against the party that used the same, open, hate-fueled rhetoric we saw from Trump.” (Please follow this link to read the rest of Alycia’s comments about supporting Black women here.)
Lecia Michelle is the founder of the anti-racism group Real Talk: WOC & Allies for Racial Justice and Anti-Oppression. The group focuses on training allies to fight racism while providing a safe space for WOC. She also is a prolific writer and an avid reader. And a dog lover. Lecia provided us with concrete ways for all of us to support black women:
“What can you do? Donate to their campaigns. Volunteer your time to help them get elected. Black women have earned the right to have a seat at the table. Anyone who believes that this country is not represented by the current administration needs to find a way to support these black women so we can make real change in 2018.
Look around your communities for businesses run by black women. In 2016, black women-led small businesses outpaced every other small business. Yes, you read that right. Black women are successfully creating businesses in their communities. Where can you find them? Mandy Bowman created the Official Black Wall Street to find black-owned businesses near you. Give them your business. Spread the word about them to family and friends and support them by liking and sharing their social media pages.” (Please follow this link to read the rest of Lecia’s comments about supporting Black women here.)
Net No Longer Neutral
On Thursday of this past week the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted to remove all regulations that had been put in place, mostly by the Obama administration, to ensure that the public had fair and equal access to the internet. The ramifications of this decision are so long-term, so far-reaching, so repugnant, that the seriousness of responding to this cannot be overstated. Of course it was the two women commissioners, Rachel Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn, who dissented. Commissioner Clyburn’s statement was powerful and courageous. You can read the text here. VIdeo is available here.
Congress now has 60 days to take action if they see fit to overturn or modify the policy. According to 5Calls.org, “17 State Attorneys General have also launched a legal challenge of the FCC decision. These include CA, DE, HI, IL, IA, KY, ME, MD, MA, MS, NY, NC, OR, PA, VT, VA, and WA.”
Now with Congress almost ready to head home for the winter recess, the Dreamers are still waiting in limbo. We had thought that Congress might possibly follow Trump’s exhortation to fix the problem for the Dreamers, but that was indeed a pipe dream. On Wednesday of this week, Californians will participate in a Statewide Day of Action–#NoDreamNoDeal. Please go to the Facebook page and find events near you. Dreamers cannot afford to wait any longer.
- Demand Congress opposes any disruption of the Mueller Investigation. Call (202) 224-3121.
- Let your Representatives know that the GOP tax scam cannot come to fruition. Call, fax, and email every day. Doug Jones must be seated immediately.
- Let Congress know that Ajit Pai is committing a terrible mistake by removing Net Neutrality regulations, https://www.battleforthenet.com/#bftn-action-form
- Support black women, women of color, and all marginalized women, by supporting their election to public office, patronizing their businesses, seeking their opinion, listening to them, and helping to amplify their voices. See a list of campaigns and organizations here.
- Find a local progressive candidate for Congress in 2018 and volunteer for them. If there isn’t already a challenger to a Republican seat in your district, find someone and/or run yourself!
- Demand Congress pass a clean DREAM Act.
Jacqui Viale is an educator and activist living in Long Beach California with her husband, two teenagers, two cats, a dog and a lizard. Jacqui holds a masters in Educational Administration from California State University, Long Beach.