This election is a very American story – a deeply fractured nation showed up to exercise their right to vote. Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, who are also the most overlooked, drove change. Boots on the ground, people on the phone, and online urged communities to vote, and the results have been incredible. 62% of eligible voters cast their votes in this presidential election. This turnout was the largest since 1968, which was another period of racial and societal tension.
Our communities are experiencing a crisis within a crisis as generations of systemic racism have made us more vulnerable to the pandemic’s effects. The heightened racial tension playing out in the nation provides a constant reminder of the ever-present interpersonal racism, bias, and divisiveness. Amidst this crisis, we showed up. Our votes shifted the course of the election; the large Black communities in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Detroit and the Indigenous and Latinx communities in Arizona made a significant impact on the result. Our lives matter, our voices matter, our votes matter, and our participation in government matters.
The nation has lots of healing to do, and I hope that President-Elect Joe Biden supports the change we need in our communities and the country. As a Black Jamaican woman, a child of immigrants, and someone raised by a single mother, I am filled with pride to witness Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris take office. Her acknowledgment that Black women are often overlooked but are the “backbone of our democracy” cannot be understated and was echoed by the many people online thanking Black women for getting people to the polls.
My sincere hope is that the appreciation of Black, Brown, and Indigenous votes is not the end. The work of organizations focused on racial justice, including birth justice and the racial wealth gap must be supported through funding and policy change. HealthConnect One is committed to continuing our work supporting birth justice, fair pay for birth workers, and collaboration with partners and legislators for an even more significant impact.
Dr. Twylla Dillion