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Black Women Leaders Demand Representation in the DNC

"Investing in Black women's political leadership is a solid return on investment," the women said in a letter to Democratic Party Chair Tom Perez.

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez (center).

More than 20 Black female elected officials, activists and community leaders came together in solidarity to voice their concern that Black women are being overlooked in regard to leadership within the Democratic Party.


The women, including State Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Calif.); Tamika Mallory, Women's March co-chair; and Star Jones, attorney, women's advocate and television personality, wrote an open letter to Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez to demand greater representation.

"Black women have consistently shown up for Democrats as a loyal voting bloc, demonstrating time and again that we are crucial to the protection of progressive policies such as economic security, affordable healthcare and criminal justice reform," the letter, published Wednesday on NBCBLK, stated.

"We have voted and organized our communities with little support or investment from the Democratic Party for voter mobilization efforts.

"We have shown how Black women lead, yet the Party's leadership from Washington to the state parties have few or no Black women in leadership. More and more, Black women are running for office and winning elections — with scant support from Democratic Party infrastructure."

Black women are "often called the most reliable progressive voting bloc," according to The Nation.

In 2008 and 2012, "70 percent of eligible Black women cast ballots, accounting for the highest voter turnout of any racial or gender group, proving that our voting power can and has determined elections," the women stated. "A closer look at the data shows that in 2012 Barack Obama won re-election by 4.9 million votes."

In November's presidential election, 94 percent of Black women voted for Hillary Clinton in support of the progressive movement.

"There's been no constituency more loyal to the Democratic Party than Black women voters," Dr. Adolphus Belk Jr., a professor of political science and director of the African American Studies Program at Winthrop University in South Carolina, said in an interview.

During an interview with DiversityInc in 2015 to commemorate 60 years since activist Rosa Parks was arrested for resisting bus segregation, Belk said Black women were the backbone of the civil rights movement.

He also described a parallel between the actions of Black women activists of the civil rights movement and the modern-day Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, as women created the BLM hashtag and are providing leadership across states.

"The greatest parallel that I see is that [the BLM creators] came together and helped to bring attention to the issue that's been going on across the states, across jurisdictions, for quite some time now," he said.

In the letter to Perez, the women stated, "Like civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, who testified at the 1964 Democratic convention demanding Blacks have a seat and voice within the Party, we are 'sick and tired of being sick and tired.'"

They also point out that the increase in overall diversity within the DNC officer ranks didn't include Black women:

"This February, in the DNC elections, we saw an increase in overall diversity within the officer ranks, but no increase in leadership representation of Black women. Since taking office, you have met with and listened to key constituencies. But you have yet to host a Black women leaders convening."

The letter requests that Perez have a meeting with Black women leaders. (Read the complete letter)

Signers of the letter also include Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) and Yvette Clarke (D-Calif.). Watson and Clarke, along with Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), formed The Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls in 2016.

The Caucus is now composed of more than 20 lawmakers. It is the first-ever caucus dedicated to removing barriers and disparities experienced by Black women.

Coleman stated last year that the caucus will "speak up" for Black women, who deserve a voice in policy making that addresses systemic challenges.

"From barriers in education, to a gender-based pay gap that widens with race, to disparities in both diagnoses and outcomes for many diseases, our society forces Black women to clear many hurdles faced by no other group, and asks them to do it with little assistance," she said.

Last month the Caucus announced that, by the end of the year, it would release a report with a list of solutions to missing Black women and girls across the country.

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

'All My Support Came From Black Women,' Says Actor Terry Crews

Crews said that, after revealing he was sexually assaulted by a Hollywood executive, Black women stood by him.

TWITTER

When actor Terry Crews revealed that he was the victim of sexual assault by a "high-level Hollywood executive," he said Black men shunned him, while Black women supported him.

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Update: McDonald's Employee Who Was Attacked Had to Call the Police Herself

Yasmine James boxed her way to safety. She hired an attorney after McDonald's placed her on leave.

Screenshot from ABC Tampa Bay

Rumors circulated about Yasmine James' firing after she defended herself against Daniel Willis Taylor at the St. Petersburg McDonald's on New Year's Eve, and people on social media were enraged, and talking boycotts.

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Cincinnati Cop on Desk Duty After Calling a Black Woman the N-Word

The Cincinnati NAACP said the officer should be fired.

Dennis Barnette, a white Cincinnati police officer, called a Black woman the "N-word" as he tried to take her into custody at a nightclub. It was recorded on the body camera of another officer at the scene.

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Black Women Journalists, Politicians Receive Abusive Tweets More Often Than White Women: Study

An Amnesty International study calls Twitter a toxic place for women, especially Black women.

A new study of millions of tweets received by 778 journalists and politicians from the U.K. and U.S. in 2017 found that rampant abuse toward women occurs on Twitter. At least 1.1 million abusive tweets were sent to the women in the study throughout the year. Women are sent abusive content on Twitter every 30 seconds on average.

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UPDATE: Trump Makes Unannounced Trip to Iraq Amid Criticism for Not Visiting Troops at Christmastime

The Trumps arrived in Iraq on Wednesday, following a "secret overnight flight."

REUTERS

UPDATE: Dec. 26, 2018 at 4:08 p.m.

In a visit that came hours after NBC News reported that President Trump was the first president since 2002 that did not visit wounded warriors or troops during Christmastime, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump met with troops stationed in Iraq, traveling there "late Christmas night," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

The Trumps arrived in Iraq on Wednesday, following a "secret overnight flight."

"Trump left behind a slate of troubles in Washington, including a partial government shutdown and an unsteady economy," according to CNN. "He's also faced criticism for a series of foreign policy decisions that have left his national security team at odds."

This makes Trump's first trip to visit U.S. troops in a combat zone, after much criticism.

According to The Washington Post, the head of one of two main blocs in Iraq's Parliament, Sabah al-Saidi, "is denouncing Trump's unannounced visit, calling it a 'blatant violation of Iraq's sovereignty'." Al-Saidi is calling for an emergency session of Parliament to discuss his visit.

He said Trump should not be allowed to arrive "as if Iraq is a state of the United States" as "the American occupation of Iraq is over."

White House press secretary Sanders said Trump couldn't meet with the Iraqi prime minister because of the short notice of the president's trip and security concerns.

ORIGINAL STORY: Trump Skips Traditional Visit With Troops at Christmastime

President Donald Trump, who made history as the first reality TV president and the first president to use Twitter to fire and hire White House staff, has now become the first president since 2002 that did not visit military personnel around Christmastime.

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Madam C.J. Walker's Mansion to Become a Think Tank for Women of Color Entrepreneurs

Walker's property was designed and completed 100 years ago by Vertner Tandy, the first licensed Black architect in New York State, and a founder of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Villa Lewaro / Photo by David Bohl/Historic NewEngland/Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The former estate of Madam C.J. Walker, who is known as the nation's first self-made female millionaire and beauty pioneer, will serve as the site of a learning institute for women of color.

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