#SheThePeople Summit Convenes Powerful Women of Color

#SheThePeople Summit, happening today in San Francisco, is a historic gathering of powerful women of color who are creating social change in the United States.

An amazing array of women are meeting today in San Francisco for the inaugural #SheThePeople Summit, which aims to be the largest gathering of women of color seeking systemic change to our political and social institutions.

The summit is being led by Aimee Allison, President of Democracy in Color, a new organization that wants to see women doing what they are doing this year: breaking records as they run for office.

“[Women of color] are the most progressive block,” Allison told Bust Magazine in a recent interview. From Bust:  “We have the numbers to flip states blue. We are the potential that hasn’t been previously recognized.”

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Democracy in Color is a national political organization motivating what its founder, Steve Philips, coined “the New America Majority”: America’s progressive, multiracial voting block. Their work is comprehensive: stimulating nonvoters, organizing campaigns, lobbying for candidates.

As president of the organization, Allison’s roles are manifold—public speaker, thought leader, writer. She stays busy; she’s the host of the “Democracy in Color” podcast, which Ellen McGirt, editor of Fortune magazine’s raceAhead, called, “The smartest podcast on race I’ve found in ages. Listen and grow.” In 2016, Allison organized and moderated “Women of Color: Uniting the Party, Leading the Country.” It was the first Democratic National Convention highlighting the potential women of color have to change democracy.

Democracy in Color describes their mission as “to win back our country from those who seek to silence our voices.” To do that, the summit is giving women, and their wide-ranging issues, a chance to be heard. The focus is those who Allison describes as politics’ “Hidden Figures”: the organizers, the women campaigning on the street.

She highlights Andrea Mercado, Executive Director of The New Florida Majority. Like many of She the People’s speakers, Mercado is a child of immigrants. She is rarely in the spotlight, but she is a ceaseless force for reform. While living in California, she co-founded the National Domestic Workers Alliance. That alliance propelled the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, which passed into seven states’ laws, winning the right to overtime for 2 million people—many of whom are women.

There’s a saying that “when women run, they win.” This summit, a three-year initiative, proves that when even one woman organizes and advocates, reform is possible. It’s an ambitious, unprecedented gathering. Though these are unprecedented times.

A partial list of the speakers at #SheThe People include:

● Aimee Allison, Founder, She the People; President, Democracy in Color

● Congressmember Pramila Jayapal, Washington District 7

● Congressmember Barbara Lee, California District 13

● Rashida Tlaib, Democratic Nominee, Michigan’s 13th Congressional District

● Deb Haaland, Democratic Nominee, New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District

● State Representative Rebecca Rios, Arizona District 27; House Minority Leader

● State Representative Crisanta Duran, Colorado District 5; Speaker of the House

● Sayu Bhojwani, Founder & President, New American Leaders

● Alicia Garza, Principal, Black Futures Lab; Strategy & Partnership Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance; Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter

● Dolores Huerta, Founder & President, Dolores Huerta Foundation; Co-Founder, United Farm Workers; Board Member, People For the American Way

● Saru Jayaraman, Co-Founder & President, ROC United & ROC Action; Director, Food Labor Research Center, UC Berkeley

● Ai-jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

● Linda Sarsour, Founder, MPower Change; Board Member, Women’s March

You can tune into the summit by using hashtag #SheThePeople on Twitter. There you will find videos of speakers and can experience the excitement and energy of this historic event.


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Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

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