Ayris T. Scales
Vote. Win. Lead. Repeat
We spoke, but now we must persevere...
We are 48 hours into the promise of a new administration, and this country is poised and ready for a new era of leadership; leadership that truly represents the fundamental values of the United States of America and takes into account the millions who have intentionally or unintentionally been marginalized. We are now riding high and praying for a speedy rebuilding process, as we optimistically place expectations on our new leaders to remedy America’s past and chart an unprecedented path forward.
As Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune said:
“Now that the barriers are crumbling everywhere, the Negro in America must be ever vigilant lest his forces be marshaled behind wrong causes and undemocratic movements. He must not lend his support to any group that seeks to subvert democracy. That is why we must select leaders who are wise, courageous, and of great moral stature and ability. We have great leaders among us today...we must produce more qualified people like them, who will work not for themselves, but for others.”
The road to November 3rd was long and riddled with adversity, but we spoke in record numbers and we were heard! According to the Associated Press, in this election 90 percent of Black voters, more specifically 93 percent of Black women voters said enough is enough. Americans had grown weary, but we reached down deep where resilience lies, especially among Black women. From behind the scenes to the main stage, we organized, informed and helped mobilize a record-breaking voter turnout of nearly 160 million Americans. In the end, the prevailing victors made it clear that yes, the character, policies and rhetoric coming from our country’s leader absolutely matters. And yes oh yes, this country pushed back, and Black women showed up!
When I think of the amazing work of our sisterhood, it makes me angry that there is still a prevailing group of people who divide our country and want to perpetuate hate. It is that hate that reinvigorates me to continue my work to positively impact the lives of Black women and girls. So much is at stake for us — we need to continue to secure financial support for our business owners, ensure the Affordable Care Act is upheld fully to allow access to health coverage, develop a solid plan to combat COVID-19 and so much more.
Four years ago, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris said it well when she spoke to the American people: “We must not despair. We must not be overwhelmed or throw up our hands. It is time to roll up our sleeves and fight for who we are.”
Ultimately, this election showed that our nation was appalled that our democracy was being chipped away at the hands of a President who displayed no regard for people, lacked servant leadership and spewed bigoted rhetoric without any concern for how those actions made people feel or behave.
Saying thank you doesn’t seem enough to show our appreciation for those of you who worked countless hours to educate and empower our communities on the importance of voting and having a voice. Thanks to you, we now have true leadership we can be proud of.
Over the past few days, it has been inspiring to witness thousands of people take to the streets, rejoice in a new day and cry tears of exuberance. However, that joy is marred by post-election data, daily interactions, social media and the news. We are constantly being reminded that our country is divided, and while many of us are enjoying this immediate gratification (which we should) we cannot by any means let up; in fact, now is the time to lean in harder and stay the course to justice and recovery. We have Senate seats at play and future elections to think of. This nation needs to heal and our leaders need our support.