What the State of the Union Showed Us About Black Women’s Political Power

Donald Trump made it clear during his State of the Union address Tuesday that he will stop at nothing to restrict reproductive freedom, limit the rights of immigrant families, suppress the voting rights of people of color and instill religious oppression.

While pleading for bipartisanship with one breath, he pushed his most polarizing policies with the next—including his demand for a wall on the southern border, a misguided abortion ban based on inaccurate and false information and the ongoing dismantling of the Affordable Care Act.

Trump spent more than 100 minutes further exacerbating the glacial divides he has caused. In response, Stacey Abrams offered another vision of America and showed us the face of true leadership.

stacey abrams speaking in a red suit

Stacey Abrams delivered the official response to the State of the Union Tuesday.

In a rousing speech that was at once honest and hopeful, Abrams appealed to our values of compassion and community, reminding us that America’s strength is in our unity and our willingness to help our neighbors and work together toward our common belief in justice and freedom. She underscored the importance of democracy and called on the country to conduct fair elections and to stop voter suppression.

Under this administration, every effort has been made to oppress women—particularly Black women and women in other marginalized communities. But the diverse group of women Members of Congress dressed in white on the House floor last night told an important story. They represent the resistance to Trump’s policies and the effort to get out the vote by women, especially Black women, across the country.

We at In Our Own Voice will continue to fight to ensure that every woman has the resources to make decisions about her own body, exercise her political power, live a healthy life and raise her family with dignity. We have great hope for the future.

Stacey Abrams’ speech reminded us that when Black women lead and vote, problems get solved. We must continue to use our power as voters to hold elected officials accountable and to stop Trump’s attacks on our most basic human rights.

Jessica Pinckney is the Vice President of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, a national reproductive justice organization focused on lifting up the voices of Black women at the national and regional levels. She previously served as government relations manager for YWCA USA. Jessica holds a M.A. in Government with a concentration in Political Communications from John’s Hopkins University and a B.A. in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Service from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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