BLACK WOMEN LEADERS SUPPORT "THE SQUAD" AND OTHER WOMEN OF COLOR AGAINST RACIST ATTACKS

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BLACK WOMEN LEADERS AND ALLIES UNITE IN OPEN LETTER SUPPORTING WOMEN OF COLOR PUBLIC SERVANTS AGAINST RACIST ATTACKS

“If I take a finger and touch you, you won’t even know you’ve been tapped.  If I take two fingers, you will know that something touched you.  But if I bring all of those fingers together in a fist, I can give you a terrible blow!”

Dr. Dorothy I. Height

We, the undersigned, join all Americans who are outraged at the series of attacks by the President of the United States on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congresswoman Ayanna S. Pressley, and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who are all women of color that were recently elected representing a new generation of public servants.

We are horrified that the President of the United States would attack these Congressional leaders by name in such a derogatory and incendiary manner in a recent campaign rally that had a primarily white crowd----calling out Rep. Omar, who is a Muslim American, with the throwback, racist chant “send her back.” Sadly, the crowd was also filled with many white children who joined in the chants, taking these ugly racially charged sentiments into the mindset of future generations.

We are extremely concerned and alarmed that too many political leaders are supporting President Trump’s racism and white nationalist views through their silence, endorsement or excuses.  As Black women, who solemnly recognize that 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the first captive Africans landing in Jamestown, VA, being forced into free labor to build this country----we know all too well what racism, white nationalism and sexism looks like, sounds like and feels like.

“Go back to where you came from” is a chant Black people, and other people of color have heard our entire lives in this country.  To be clear, racism is the belief that one racial or ethnic group is superior to another.  The blatant and inexcusable racism of the chant implies that Rep. Omar and her colleagues love this country less than the primarily white chanters and therefore should leave.

While President Trump did not start racism and white nationalism in our nation, he has exploited it for his economic and political gain. Our nation has also never addressed forthrightly America’s historic racial and ethnic divisions. Yet, he has made the problem of racial tension worse because he has failed to be the President of all Americans as he promised, and is required by The Constitution.

Trump's history of inadequately addressing questions of race spans years, from his spreading false “birtherism” claims that America's first Black president was not born in the United States,  calls for the execution of the "Central Park 5" who were later exonerated, supporting white nationalists in Charlottesville, VA, attack on Black athletes kneeling for justice and calling them “SOBs”, calling African nations “s__thole” countries, attempt to impose Muslim travel ban,  administration policy of caging and separating babies from their families at the border; and pushing a “love our country or leave it” call to four elected members of Congress. 

These are all examples of the President exacerbating the racial divides in our country. The campaign crowd he encouraged to participate in “send her back,” chants, are frightfully reminiscent of crowds whipped up into hateful attacks in the 1950s and 1960s against the Little Rock Nine; against Black men, women, children and others peacefully marching during the Civil Rights Movement, against the “Bloody Sunday,” Selma to Montgomery marchers, including severely beaten Civil Rights icon Congressman John Lewis, Activist Amelia Boyton and other marchers; and more recently the attack by neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan and other white nationalist groups against demonstrators in Charlottesville, VA that resulted in the death of demonstrator, Heather Heyer. 

Hate-filled words have impact on inciting violence, such as a man inspired by the President's words who months ago sent pipe bombs to high level democratic leaders; the rise in hate crimes and hate groups and, school bullying; the calling of police by white people on Black people for showing up Black, and random attacks on America's streets against people.  Hate is a cancer that spreads and harms the entire body---the American people of every background. 

We unite to declare---Enough is enough! The time is up for blatant disrespect of Congressional women of color, like Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Congresswoman Karen Bass, other women of the Congressional Black Caucus; and now the four freshmen congressional women of color (referred to as The Squad) and others. Also, the time is up for people of color being the targets and scapegoats for America's failed policies of justice and equality! 

Know that Black women and our allies across generations are putting everyone on notice that every time these despicably racist and nationalist sentiments are voiced or written, we will rapidly respond, react and confront those responsible at every level.  We also caution the news media against affirming, perpetuating, and being complicit with America's growing division by repeating as "breaking news" every insult coming predictably from the White House until Americans become numb and tune it out.  

Most Americans are weary of the escalating racial division.  Where are their stories?  Where are the stories of people attempting to build bridges of racial healing across the nation.  Where are the stories of Black women and other women of color telling their own truths about the impact of overt bigotry and implicit bias?  And, where are the stories of leaders of every background calling America to the highest ideals of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights?   To the question posed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his book, Where Do We Go From Here?: Chaos or Community, we cannot yet say, like many leaders today, "we are better than this!"  We are not better than this, but we can be.

Black women across generations will not be silent. United with other women of color and our allies, we are fortified, ready and willing to continue to fight against racism, sexism, hate and religious intolerance, whenever, wherever and by whomever----just as our ancestors did.

Join us in Solidarity,

Melanie L. Campbell, President & CEO, NCBCP,  and Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable

Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Co-Chair, National African American Clergy Network

Rev. Leah D. Daughtry, Co-Convener, Power Rising

Rev. Aundreia Alexander, Esq., Associate General Secretary for Action and Advocacy, National Council of Churches, USA

BobbieJean Anderson, CDP E-Board, Former LA City Human Relations Commissioner

Clayola Brown, President, A. Philip Randolph Institute

Monifa Bandele, Vice President & Chief Partnership & Equity Officer, Moms Rising

Cora Masters Barry, Former First Lady, District of Columbia, Political Scientist and Board Member, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

Rev. David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World

Salandra Benton, Convener, Florida Black Women’s Roundtable, FCBCP

Rev. Traci D. Blackmon, Associate General Minister, Justice & Local Church Ministries, The United Church of Chris

Donna Brazile, Former Chairman, DNC

Rev. Dr. Valerie Bridgeman, President & CEO, WomanPreach! Inc.

Roslyn Brock, Chairman Emeritus, NAACP

Barbarella A. Brown, Director of Programs, Skinner Leadership Institute

Latosha Brown, Co-Founder, Black Voters Matter

Helen Butler, Convener, Georgia Black Women’s Roundtable and Executive Director, Georgia Coalition for the Peoples Agenda

Glynda Carr, Co-Founder, Higher Heights

Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO, YWCA USA

Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Chair and President of the National Council of Negro Women

Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, Former Presidential Advisor, President & CEO, ProVoice Movement for Women

Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune, Chief Operating Officer, National Council of Churches, USA

Felicia Davis, Convener, Clayton County GA Black Women’s Roundtable and Director, HBCU Green Fund

Cynthia Downs, Political Strategist and Owner, CD Consulting Services

Marcia L. Dyson, CEO, Women’s Global Initiative

Rev. Jamie Eaddy, Founder, I Just Believe, Inc.

Anita R. Estell, Esq., Principal, Estell Group, LLC

Lisa Fager, Senior Resource & Programs Advisor, NCBCP

Oleta Fitzgerald, Regional Administrator, Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic and Social Justice

Dr. Natalie A. Francisco, Founder & Executive Director, Women of Worth & Worship Institute and Co-Pastor, Calvary Community Church, Hampton, VA

Jocelyn Frye, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Founder and President, Grace and Race Ministries, Inc.

Fatima Goss Graves, President, National Women's Law Center

Alicia Garza, Principal, Black Futures Lab

Fatima Goss Graves, President, National Women’s Law Center

Vanita Gupta, President & CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Dr. Cynthia L. Hale, Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church, Decatur, GA

Rev. Sekinah Hamlin, Saint James Presbyterian Church, Greensboro, NC

Avon Hart-Johnson, PhD, President, DC Project Connect

Holli Holliday, President, Sisters Lead, Sisters Vote and Senior Advisor, NCBCP

The Honorable Helen Holton, Executive Director, National Organization for Black County Officials

Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

Dorothy R. Jackson, JD, Policy Counsel, Black Congress on Health, Law and Economics, Inc.

Letetia Jackson, Convener, Dothan Alabama BWR and President/CEO, Tandeka LLC

Derrick Johnson, President & CEO, NAACP

Avon Hart-Johnson, PhD, HS-BCP, GRS, DC Project Connect

Avis Jones-DeWeever, PhD, Author and Founder, Exceptional Leadership Institute

Carol Joyner, Director, Labor Project for Working Families and Family Values@Work

Amelia Kegan, Friends Committee on National Legislation

Tamika Mallory, Co-Founder, Women’s March

Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Economist  and Author, President, Economic Education

Dee C. Marshall, CEO, Diverse & Engaged

Janice Mathis, Esq., Executive Director, National Council of Negro Women

Rev. Dr. Madeline McClenney, Interfaith Justice Group

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Presiding Prelate, 10th Episcopal District African American Methodist Church

Pamela J. Meanes, Past President, National Bar Association

Rev. Dr. Judith C. Moore, Convener, Pittsburgh/Mon Valley Black Women’s Roundtable, Executive Director, Sisters Saving Ourselves Now

Minyon Moore, Co-Convener, Power Rising

The Honorable Stephanie Moore, Convener, Kalamazoo MI Black Women’s Roundtable

Marc Morial, President & CEO, National Urban League

Acacia Newsome, Intern, Black Women's Roundtable/Black Youth Vote, NCBCP

Barbara A. Perkins, President, International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute

Dr. Gloria Miller Perrin, First Baptist Church Glenarden

Donna Perkins Potts, President, Strategic Communications

Becky Pringle, Vice President, National Education Association

Dr. Cassandra Gould Quinn, Executive Director, Missouri Faith Voices, Quinn Chapel AME Church

Tameka M. Ramsey, B.S.W M.P.A., Convener, Metro Detroit Black Women’s Roundtable

Diane Randall, Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation

Rene Redwood, Treasurer, Sisters Lead, Sisters Vote

Rev. Dr. Barbara A. Reynolds, Chaplain, Black Women for Positive Change

Angela Rye, Principal/CEO, IMPACT Strategies

Ebonie Riley, Washington DC Bureau Chief, National Action Network

Delisa Saunders, Ph.D, Community Organizer & Activist

Angela Shute-Woodson, Co-Convener, OH Black Women's Roundtable

Elsie L. Scott, Ph.D., Secretary of the Board, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

Merwyn L. Scott, Director Community Partnership and Advocacy Engagement, NEA

Lakeila R. Stemming, Esq., Executive Director, National Voter Protection Action Fund

Pierette "Petee" Talley, Convener, OH Unity Coalition and Co-Convener, OH Black Women's Roundtable

Adam Taylor, Executive Director, Sojourners

Susan L. Taylor, Founder, National Cares Mentoring Movement and Editor-In-Chief Emerita, Essence

Makani Themba, Chief Strategist, Higher Ground Change Strategies

Patrice Thomas, Metropolitan Baptist Church

Jennifer Tucker, Senior Policy Advisor, Black Women's Roundtable, NCBCP

The Honorable Sheila Tyson, Convener, Alabama Black Women’s Roundtable

Tonya Tyson, Special Assistant to CEO, NCBCP

Jim Wallis, Founder, President and Editor-in-Chief, Sojourners

Rev. Dr. Joan L. Wharton, Senior Pastor, Hemingway Temple AME Church, CEO and Founder, Seasoned Women Ministries, Inc.

Cassandra Welchlin, Co-Convener/State Organizer, Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable

Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq. President & CEO, National Congress of Black Women, Inc.

Robin Williams, Vice President, Director, Civil Rights and Community Action, United Food & Commercial Workers Union

Rev. Dr. Cynthia T. Turner Wood, Pastor, Day Spring Community Church

Rev. Jamila Woods, Pastor, Jabez Christian Community Church

Teresa C. Younger, President & CEO, Ms. Foundation for Women

Vanessa S. Barnes Bey, MSW

Dr. Gay L. Byron

Alicia Christy, M.D., Colonel (retired), U. S. Army

Rev. Margaret Fountain Coleman

Leyser Q. Hayes, Esq.

Dr. Demetra K.M. Hutchinson

Chastity Johnson

Amelia Kegan

Rev. Dr. Dara Cobb Lewis

Rev. Dr. Jo Anne Lyon

Shari E. Miles-Cohen, PhD

Denise Neath

The Honorable Constance Berry Newman

Rev. Tonia C. Nixon

Rev. Dr. Regena Thomas

Rev. Millicent Wess, M.Div., BCC

Mechelle Sippial Wilder

Partial Listing as of 7/25/19.  Above affiliations listed are for identification purposes only.

#NobodyIsLeaving    #StandWithBlackWomen    #WeAreAmerica #PoweroftheSisterVote