Louisiana Secretary of State Candidate Could Make History for Black Women
Collins-Greenup would be the first Black woman elected to statewide office in Louisiana.
Running a grassroots campaign with little help from the Democratic Party, Gwen Collins-Greenup could make history as the first Black woman to be elected to statewide office in Louisiana. She would become Louisiana's first female Secretary of State since 1932, and the second ever in the state's history.
A runoff for Secretary of State is set for Saturday. Collins-Greenup's opponent, Republican candidate Kyle Ardoin, currently serves as the interim Secretary of State. The special election is to fill out the remaining year of Tom Schedler's term. He resigned in May over sexual harassment allegations.
Collins-Greenup is a 39-year-old minister, small business owner, wife, mother and lifelong resident of Louisiana, currently residing in Clinton. She earned a master of divinity degree as well as a law degree.
In November, Collins-Greenup beat out seven other candidates with a campaign budget of less than $3,000 ahead of the primary election.
"Spending roughly a half-cent for each vote received, the Democrat got 289,097 votes to Ardoin's 298,657 votes. He spent about 83 cents per vote received," according to The Advocate.
Collins-Greenup, with small-dollar contributions, ran her campaign without TV ads, forum invites or appearances, rather, she went on church visits. She didn't have campaign support from the Louisiana Democratic party until after the November primary. Her party originally endorsed Renee Fontenot Free in the race.
But Collins-Greenup welcomed the party's support.
"It's such a privilege to receive an endorsement from the Louisiana Democratic Party executive committee," she said in a statement in mid-November. "We have a lot of work to do in a short amount of time, but I'm confident that the tireless work we've done in the primary will carry over into the runoff."
If elected, Collins-Greenup would serve as the chief election officer.
"As important as the Secretary of State position is, the races often fly under the radar – until now," according to the NAACP.
This sole distinction as the main overseer of elections caused the NAACP to call out Brian Kemp's run for Governor of Georgia, while still maintaining his role as Secretary of State, as a conflict of interest. There were multiple accounts of voter suppression coming out of the state up until Election Day.
Collins-Greenup said her number one priority would be to increase voter participation.
"By engaging schools and communities organizations and having that voter education and outreach," she told KLFY.
"My second priority will be the implementation of Act 636, which allows people who are formally incarcerated, and on probation and parole to vote."
She also said she'd get new voting machines across the state.
"That will have a voter verified paper trail, that prints out and gives people peace of mind, that the vote they casted is the one that is counted," Collins-Greenup said.
Even with this win, North Carolina's law enforcement agencies are still predominantly white and male.
The first Black Congresswoman in the U.S. to be honored in her hometown of Brooklyn. And Viola Davis is set to play Chisholm in an upcoming biopic.
Late politician Shirley Chisholm, a trailblazer who worked to improve the lives of others, became the first Black woman elected to Congress in 1968. Fifty years after she made history, New York City announced it would honor Chisholm with a statue in her hometown.
The former first lady keeps it real on her book tour.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama kept it all the way real on the latest stop of her successful "Becoming" book tour at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Saturday. In a moment of full disclosure, Obama expressed the difficulties of "having it all."
Sen. Tim Scott, what has the Republican Party done for you lately?
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the only Black Republican in the Senate, opposed President Trump's nomination of Thomas Farr to become a federal judge, on Thursday, ending his chances of confirmation. Trump's choice — an attorney who has supported voter suppression targeting Blacks — caused Scott to defy the leader of his party's wishes.
She was one of the last survivors and few first-hand witnesses of the Tulsa Race Massacre that led to the destruction of Black Wall Street.
Shonda Rhimes shared a video where Ellen Pompeo demands diversity during an interview.
Shonda Rhimes, creator, head writer and executive producer of "Grey's Anatomy," shared a video of the star of her show, Ellen Pompeo, talking about how white people need to be advocates for diversity. It's gone viral with more than 2 million views.
"As Caucasian people, it's our job, it's our task, it's our responsibility to make sure we speak up in every single room we walk into. It's our job because we created the problem," Pompeo says in the video, during a photo shoot for Porter magazine.
Pompeo called out the lack of diversity in the magazine crew, and in Hollywood, without mincing words.
"This day has been incredible, and there's a ton of women in the room," she said. "But, I don't see enough color. And I didn't see enough color when I walked in the room today."
Actress Gabrielle Union is seen in the video giving a look of approval.
Go, Ellen, GO. @EllenPompeo pic.twitter.com/Oj1YS3cq5G
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) November 19, 2018
DiversityInc COO Carolynn Johnson said that both white women and women of color have a responsibility to each other to say there needs to be equality across the board.
"We need diversity of all walks represented," said Johnson, who in October launched DiversityInc's annual Women of Color and Their Allies event.
She said that people of color have a responsibility to talk about what's wrong and how it can be improved.
"We need to communicate," she said.
And for allies, "their responsibility is to recognize where there is no diversity and be bold enough to say something about it."
Johnson offered the example of Christopher J. Nassetta, CEO of Hilton (No. 10 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list). She said he was in one of his executive board meetings and looked around and said there wasn't enough women in this room.
So he did something about it.
"He was present enough in the moment to look around and see what was missing … not what he was comfortable with," Johnson said.
For white women who choose to be allies, "It's also your responsibility to know these stories and share them," she said.
Allies should also ask questions like: Why aren't there people of color on the set, as interviewers and production staff, scholarship recipients or in executive boardrooms?
Allies should hold decision makers accountable for age, class, ethnicity, ability, and gender diversity. And Johnson said, allies need to be helpful in the solution piece.
"We have countless examples of people who are doing this work … who are present in their everyday interactions," Johnson said.
She called attention to the fact that sometimes leaders don't hear what they need to from the vantage point of the people who need support, but from the vantage point of others in similar positions.
Reader Question: Do you think those who don't have Ellen Pompeo's position in Hollywood would speak up the way she did?
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Abrams tells those discouraged by Brian Kemp's win amid voter suppression speculation to turn their attention to fighting for fair elections.
Stacey Abrams ended her gubernatorial campaign in Georgia on Friday, and is planning to file a
federal lawsuit against the state. Some entertainment industry executives discouraged by Republican Brian Kemp's win of the governorship, amid accusations of voter suppression, are contemplating boycotting Georgia. But Abrams is encouraging them not to.