Voter enthusiasm for any candidate means little if the vote is suppressed, an occurrence that disproportionately affects black voters. And in the aftermath of uncounted votes and purged voter rolls marring the midterm elections cycle, domestic workers and caregivers are at the frontlines in the fight to make sure suppressing the black vote is a thing of the past.
The New York Times reports that a variety of women-oriented activist groups are making sure 2018's Year of the Woman doesn’t lose momentum. But Nikema Williams, a Democratic state senator in Georgia, notes that this goes beyond celebrating the 102 women elected to Congress, directly impacting the level of attention given to other important issues like voter disenfranchisement.
“People do see it as just, Nov. 6, women got elected in historic numbers—and then it’s done,” Williams told the Times. “But it’s not actually done because now we have all these women we’ve engaged who are now paying attention.” As the Times notes, the outrage over uncounted votes has continued far beyond election day. That’s where groups like the National Domestic Workers Alliance comes in.
The organization’s voter outreach arm, Care in Action, was a major player in Georgia during the midterms. They endorsed and canvassed heavily for Democrat Stacey Abrams in the hotly contested and controversial governor’s race, which she ultimately lost to voter suppression advocate, Brian Kemp. Currently, Care in Action is a plaintiff alongside Abrams’s new election reform group, Fair Fight Action, in a federal lawsuit against the state’s election officials. They allege that the state of Georgia engaged in voter suppression by disenfranchising black and brown voters and supplying insufficient resources like ballots, functioning machines, and polling locations in black neighborhoods.
Activists have also helped voters wise up to the fact that this advocacy work is more than just voting for president or senators every two to four years, but also paying attention to who represents voter interests at the state and local level; the races that receive a lot less press, but could be essential to everything from voting laws to health care, issues that also happen to disproportionately impact black Americans.
From the New York Times:
Many women who became active after the 2016 election said they would now focus on advocating policy in state legislative sessions. Some mentioned wanting to push to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and for gun control laws. In Washington State, said Ai-jen Poo, the executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, women are organizing to support a law creating a public long-term care insurance program.
“As women, we see it as, this is a time for us to speak,” said Diana Earl, who became an anti-gun violence activist in Texas after her son was killed in 2016. “We’ve got to continue speaking. Once we stop and slow down, that’s a little break for the opposition to come in and try to do something to reverse our progress.”
Read the rest here.