A year of inspiration and motivation: Historic firsts for women of color in politics

A year of inspiration and motivation: Historic firsts for women of color in politics

By Darreonna Davis

Originally published by The 19th

Several women of color made history as the first women from their ethnic or racial group to serve in various political offices this year, affirming arguments put forth by candidates and political analysts that their electoral success is a sign of shifting politics.

At least six women of color made history as mayors, the most notable being Cherelle Parker, the first woman and first Black woman elected to lead Philadelphia. Parker joins Mayors Sharon Weston Broome of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Vi Alexander Lyles of Charlotte, North Carolina; Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C.; Elaine O’Neal of Durham, North Carolina; Karen Bass of Los Angeles; LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans; London Breed of San Francisco; and Tishaura Jones of St. Louis in a growing list of Black women serving as mayors of major cities.

This year’s addition to the list of women of color mayors is part of a trend experts like Kelly Dittmar, director of research for the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), have observed over the past decade. Dittmar attributes it to the way many women of color value and interact with communities, and to the inspiration provided by other mayors who are women of color.

“I do think having role models and examples where you see other women of color, broadly speaking, be successful and be in these positions of leadership … can both be inspiring and motivating and also legitimizing to the insiders that these women can win and should win and make a difference in policy and policymaking and political leadership,” Dittmar said.

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