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
Rev. Dr. Dara Cobb Lewis
Rev. Dr. Jo Anne Lyon
Shari E. Miles-Cohen, PhD
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
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