Occupation: Majority Conference Leader, NJ General Assembly
Twitter Handle: @aswsumter
Assemblywoman Shavonda E. Sumter was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly on November 8, 2011 to represent the 35th Legislative district. The 35th Legislative district includes Elmwood Park and Garfield of Bergen County and Haledon, North Haledon, Paterson and Prospect Park of Passaic County. She is the Assembly Majority Conference Leader, Vice-Chair of the Labor committee and is a member of the Health & Senior Services and Law & Public Safety committees and second VP of the NJ Legislative Black Caucus.
Occupation: New York City Public Advocate
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
About Letitia James
Letitia James is the Public Advocate for the City of New York, the second highest ranking elected office in the City. As Public Advocate, she serves as a direct link between New Yorkers and their government, acts as a watchdog over City agencies, and investigates complaints about City services.
Between work, school, family obligations, personal relationships, church and keeping up with friends it's hard to find space for anything else.
Every time you turn on the television there is another story about a corrupt elected official, some outlandish statement by a presidential candidate or, worse yet, another senseless death due to gun violence.
I'm often asked, what are the barriers to women of color running for elected office? I usually cite a number of predictable and persistent barriers such as inability to raise money, serving as heads of households they are unable to afford to run.
Women of color are usually serving as caregivers to elderly loved ones, and of course sexism is real, and racist stereotypes too. All of these barriers are legitimate. However, I know, the greatest barrier comes from a lack of confidence and ownership, the nagging fear of one's own power, and of course, the fear of losing. Lately James Baldwin's profound and prophetic words have been a repeat refrain in my head "Your crown has been bought and paid for, all you have to do is wear it."Read more
Kelly Dittmar, Ph.D.
Scholar, Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics; Assistant Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University–Camden
Co-founder and managing director, Higher Heights Leadership Fund
If Hillary Clinton activated her “firewall” in the past week of presidential primaries, black women are a key component of it. Black voters voted overwhelmingly for Clinton in Democratic primaries across the nine states where race data is available, and the proportion of black women casting ballots for Clinton was even greater than the proportion of black men, based on exit polls reporting race by gender data. Gender gaps –the difference between women’s and men’s support for the winning candidates – range from 2 to 9 points among black voters in primaries in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. Most significantly, Clinton has won more than 85% of black women’s votes in each of these states.Read more
The 2016 election cycle is in full swing and whether you are engulfed in the many presidential debates or actively involved in local races where you live one thing is clear, our votes up and down the ballot will be critical this year.
Your voice is extremely important in this process and for this month's Sunday Brunch we invite you to share what issues matter to you as you decide which candidates to support in both the Presidential primaries and in your local community.
Just in time for the holidays, Higher Heights’ limited edition #BlackWomenLead long sleeve tee and tote bag are available for a limited time. Help us end the year strong and support our efforts to elevate Black women’s voices in the political process from the voting booth to elected representation.
Visit the #BlackWomenLead store to get yours today