My Dearest Sistahs,

Now, before any of you get your undies gathered in an unnatural and unflattering wad, lend me a moment to present my point. For the past two years, black women have come together to write several letters and make various public pleas to the Democratic party, nicely requesting for increased support for our elected leaders, our candidates, and our causes. All we seem to keep getting from the Democratic party are superficial luncheons, tea parties, BBQ’s, and social media apologies that are about as empty as the ones given by Ike Turner’s character in "What’s Loves Got To Do With It".

Black women we have proven that we are a formidable Sisterhood of Innovative Trailblazers (the S.H.I.T.) worthy of consideration and support politically, but the Democratic party (national, state, and some on a local level) have proven time and time again that they ain't about us. If the Democratic party was a living and breathing human being, black women would be its brain, heart, and soul – its lifeline. It is us black women that have demonstrated throughout decades that we are a force in all levels of politics – in the field, the campaign offices, and on the dais.

It is too often that our candidates don’t pass the Democratic party’s litmus test for support. The party often plays it safe with black women political candidates and go all out for those white male and female candidates, frequently using us in the efforts of electability, as we saw in the 2017 election of Doug Jones. It is not until black women candidates have moved mountains, raised more money, garnered more street credibility, and raised the roof on the polls in comparison to the party’s candidates of choice; do they finally step up in support and take every bit of credit for discovery. At that point, their efforts are pretty much a day late and a dollar short.

I know firsthand how dysfunctional and one-sided this relationship has been between the black woman and the party. I am a black woman serving in an elected position and have been a member of the Democratic party since being in diapers. Well, at least it seems like it's been that long. Like many black children of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, my parents started promoting the party in my early days, and like many of you, my loyalty for the party has more so mirrored my alliance with my parents. As the result, the party has taken what has been automated support from the black community for granted.

We have been doing the damn thang in our communities, as well as other folks’ communities from the beginning of time. We have proven to be successful thought leaders, taking the business world by storm, and are leading in the efforts in higher education degrees obtained. We have been the mothers of this nation, lending our milk (literally) in an effort to provide nourishment for all. Black women it is time for us to wean this grown baby. The Democratic party will need to release their vice grip on our tits because we have served as the wet nurse breastfeeding them for far too long and we are drying up.

The Democratic party is as exploitive to the black community as Harvey Weinstein was to the motion picture community, thus preempting us to have to now rally and start our own #BlackWomenToo movement. The party has sat quietly as some of our movement’s most notable champions – Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Political Advocate Kimberly Ellis, Congresswoman-Elect Ayanna Pressley, and Vermont State Representative Kiah Morris have been misused and abused.

This manifesto is not to serve up as a Golden Girls kumbaya moaning session over a slice of cheesecake and bowl of chocolate ice cream, because we have been doing that for quite some time. This is an unapologetic call to action. It’s time we end this courtship that has gone wrong and take matters into our own hands. You may be asking what exactly should we be doing?

· Run! Run! Run for public office, seek boards and appointments on every level, and not in just those located in predominately black communities.

· Recruit, train, vet, and support our own political candidates. Stop allowing the party to determine what candidates we will support.

· Stop giving your money to political parties and organizations that don’t provide us with what we feel is sufficient support to black women, our candidates, and our causes. Donate your dollars directly to black women candidates or organizations that support black women in politics (i.e. Collective Pac, Higher Heights, Black Women In Politics, etc.).

· Organize communities and campaign like our lives depend on it.

My sistahs, this is just a short list of positive actionable items that can be done to improve things for us. We don’t have to sit and wait while the Democratic party decides whether they want to be our friend or our foe. We don’t need to sit around in desperation like a young teen sitting home alone on prom night, only to realize her date ain’t coming through. We hold the power! As we have clearly demonstrated this year and years past elections. We don’t have another second to waste, because our children, our spouses, our education, our businesses, and our lives depend on us taking charge and making a change.


Tonya Burke

Concerned Black Woman