By Aimee Allison
The numbers are in and the message is clear: women of color won the midterms. The significance of this victory is bigger than you think. Women of color beat Republicans to win congressional seats and sealed a Democratic majority in the House. The Democrats now have the ability to check Donald Trump. In addition to changing the face of power, women of color enter Congress with organizing chops and powerful visions for social justice.
This election was a mandate from the new American majority to enact a politics of accountability where our government is pushed to represent Americans who for too long have been left out.
No doubt, women of color won with historic firsts: the first Muslim woman elected to Congress; the first black woman from Massachusetts to go to Congress; the youngest person ever elected to Congress; just to name a few.
But we can’t ignore that women of color won this year by organizing on the ground, reaching out to communities of color, and subsequently inspiring a record number of voters (for a midterm election) to go to the polls. These women of color represent a new hope for the multiracial progressive majority of voters that is growing every day as the country becomes more diverse.
Women of color were the architects of democratic innovations this year in states like Georgia, Texas and Florida — showing that on-the-ground organizing, and a focus on registering people of color, makes victory possible (or at least closer) for groundbreaking, progressive candidates.
In Georgia, Stacey Abrams launched one of the most comprehensive deep organizing efforts in the state’s election history — hiring more than a dozen organizers a full year and a half before the election to work across “red” and “blue” areas of the state. In Texas, Michelle Tremillo of the Texas Organizing Project led the effort to close the Republican vote gap from 16 percent in 2012 to a mere 3 percent. If they continue their work there, they are on track to turn Texas blue in 2020.
This is why I founded an organization called She the People — a national network connecting women of color to transform our democracy. A strong social justice policy agenda, combined with candidates of color, inspires voters to turn out in record numbers and shows that social justice can, in fact, become the law of the land.