“Hat tip” to Mechelle Hankerson of the Virginia Mercury for first reporting on what Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) had to say earlier today at the “She the People Virginia Town Hall” at Virginia Union University in Richmond. First of all, Del. Herring said pointedly:
“We hear of two African-American women thinking about running for governor and that’s awesome. But we also hear people say, ‘But what if they run against each other, then maybe one won’t win the general election.’ We need to call that kind of thinking out.”
Del. Herring then “became the latest black woman who appears to be considering higher office,” stating that she “love[s] the law” and serving on the Courts of Justice Committe, and is “honored” by the question of whether she might run for Attorney General.
See below for video of the conference, with Virginia speakers including (in addition to Del. Charniele Herring):
- State Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-SD9), who declared that “women of color are going to lead the way…into progress in Virginia, now and in the future…This is a critical year…What you don’t often hear about in school is who throughout history was really keeping things on track, solving peoples’ problems, literally putting clothes on people’s backs, nursing other people’s children, really running things: black women and women of color…It is time that we take our seat at the table…We are going to build a new table…And here in Virginia and at the national level, we are more diverse than ever, but we’ve got a long way to go. And it is time that Virginia and this country fully reflect the beautiful diversity of this entire nation and that our perspectives are heard. Because if our perspectives are not heard, our problems are not going to be solved…This week we have seen a concerted effort against women’s reproductive health rights…It is time that we stand up and say no more regression…we are here, we are a firewall.”
- Tram Nguyen of New Virginia Majority, who introduced a panel on “A New Civil Rights Movement” (including panelists Margie Del Castillo of the Virginia Latina Advocacy Network; Austin Higgs of VCU; Maya Castillo Morrison of New Virginia Majority; Ibby Han of the Virginia Student Action Network; Yanet Limon-Amado of the Virginia Intercollegiate Immigrant Alliance).
- Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales, who talked about the work she’s doing on criminal justice, restoration of rights, overcoming obstacles (including “from other women who look like me”), standing up for other women, etc.
- Del. Lashrecse Aird (D-Petersburg), who said she worries about her two young sons growing up in this society, also about how there are no women of color in statewide office in Virginia…or as committee chairs for influential committees in the General Assembly, etc., so she doesn’t feel a “reason to celebrate,” but “a new day is coming.”
- Charlottesville Community Organizer Noelle Luendo, who talked about the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, including the moment when a neo-Nazi drove his car down a crowded street, injuring and killing people, including Heather Heyer.
- Keren Charles Dongo, who was Sen. Tim Kaine’s campaign manager in 2018, and who talked about how we have an election every year in Virginia, and how in 2019, there’s a great deal of focus on winning the votes of women of color. According to Dongo, the question for candidates should really be, “how can I show up with my authentic self?” She encouraged everyone to “challenge candidates and campaigns to connect so that we can actually win the future.”
- Tierra Ragland of the Virginia Progressive Leadership Project, who talked about often being one of the only women of color “in the room” and how she should “be lucky to be here.” She said she’s “very much invested in giving back to the younger generation” and “to develop leaders of color.”
- Del. Marcia Price (D-Newport News), who said that “there’s no shame in seeking help when your own government is trying to kill you,” that “it took us 400 years to arrive at this moment…2019 is a pivotal year as we begin writing the next 400 years…our narrative will not be parenthetical…We are the chance and we are doing the work…We will not go back; we can’t.”
“We are gathering with our sisters from Planned Parenthood, New Virginia Majority, Sister District Project, Virginia Progressive Leadership Project, and Virginia Student Power Network to strengthen the political power of women of color in Virginia and across the country. As a Southern swing state, Virginia is a key state to watch, both driving and mirroring the national political trajectory. Virginia voters are showing a new direction for America, working towards a more inclusive, reflective and just democracy.”