Black Girl Leaders

In Politico by Carlissa Shaw2 Comments

Let’s stop asking the question of, “Where are our black girl leaders?” Instead, let’s shift
to this: “How can we assist our black girl leaders to shine ever the more brightly.”

This is a question that I posed in an article I wrote for the New Tri- State Defender in late August of 2017. Little did I know that I would also be the person to answer the question with a follow up call to action in the spring of 2018. In the article I discussed the need for black women to be in leadership positions within the political landscape of our communities. Black women are running households and businesses. We are both student and teacher but for lots of reasons black women are disproportionately missing from politics. In the time of #blackgirlmagic we are just coming to see the value in black girl leadership in politics and business. Last year we saw impressive wins across the country. From Keisha Bottoms becoming the Mayor of Atlanta to LaToya Cantrell becoming the first female Mayor of New Orleans, a new age is upon us as a nation. We all have to work to ensure that our local communities are no different.

During the 2017 local election cycle in Memphis, TN there were several amazing black girls that ran for office that I supported. At the time, I had no idea what it really meant to support someone running for political office. I donated between $50-$100 to each campaign. I reposted their campaign flyers on my social media, and attended their events when invited. In my mind, I was supporting them. Each of the candidates that I supported ran very hard and dedicated a lot of time and energy into campaigning. Unfortunately, none of them were victorious. Each of them qualified, intelligent, passionate and they all lost their respective elections.

I was a little bewildered because each of these beautiful, amazing, and talented black women are exactly what Memphis needs to thrive. Their energy is new and fresh, their ideas and based in both experience and education. Their passion for Memphis and the humans living in each and every community is motivating; we need them. It was in a moment of reflection of the need for my city to take a different direction that I decided that moving I had to be more intentional when I supported political candidates. The success of our city depends on us electing candidates that will work hard to improve the conditions of the most vulnerable people living in our communities.

The desire for demographic representation of African-American women inspired me to manage the campaign for London Lamar’s bid for State Representative. As a community we can no longer just talk about the importance of young black women being in office, but we have to do something about it. We have to take aggressive steps to ensure that our communities are protected and we have to right people in office to do it. I decided that London would be my key candidate in this cycle because like the other young women from the last election cycle she is exactly what Memphis needs. She is intelligent, articulate, capable, and passionate about the lives of the folks in Memphis.

When we identify women in our community like London and so many others we have to support them fully. We have to host fundraisers to support their campaigns financially, introduce them to our networks, volunteer our weekends to canvas the community with them, invite them to our churches, call our friends and tell them to vote, we have to wear their t-shirts and put their signs in our yard, and finally we as a community have to trust female leadership.

Black women are ready, we are capable, we are willing, and black women all over this country need your support in showing Memphis and America that black girl leadership is needed to build strong communities one street at a time. The future is female and we have to high time for us to trust black women.


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  1. This is really GREAT! I am so impressed with your generation of Black Women!

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