Four years ago, a sense of shock, anxiety, and dismay turned into an urgent need to organize, to connect, and to engage in the wake of an impending Trump presidency. Today, as we take in the news of President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, I feel a sense of relief and kinship with all those celebrating the defeat of the worst president in the history of our nation. A presidency of constant lies and gaslighting, of cruelty and human rights abuses that led to kids in cages, of corrupt self-dealing, self-aggrandizement, norm-breaking, and of incompetence that led to over 230,000 deaths to COVID-19 – today we know that this historically awful presidency will draw to a close in just over 70 days. It is a time to mark that political accomplishment.
But also, today is a time to organize, to connect, and to engage with a politics that will serve our shared communities better – it is a need as urgent as it was four years ago. As President Obama said, “for democracy to endure, it requires our active citizenship and sustained focus on the issues – not just in an election season, but all the days in between.” Today, as the election season draws to a close, we need to keep our focus on the days in between. We can draw inspiration from Stacey Abrams and the work of countless voting rights activists, who in the face of voter suppression in Georgia committed to organizing and helped deliver the victory we celebrate today.
While the final numbers are not tallied yet, the Black vote has been an indispensable part of the coalition that led to the coming Biden-Harris administration. Black people invested tremendous political capital in making Trump a one-term president and bringing about this much needed, monumental change. Now is a time for our keeping up organizing efforts and our ensuring the Biden-Harris administration institutes the policies that will move Black America forward. As the poetry of the campaign trail turns into the prose of governing, to paraphrase Governor Mario Cuomo, we need to make sure those lines of prose include Black people and all people of color.
The pandemic exacerbated every inequity, access to healthcare, housing security, food security, economic stability, quality education, and more. The pandemic underlines how vulnerable Black people and all people of color are, and underscores how brittle the systems we have in place are in the face of crisis. Our continued organizing must keep those issues on the table as we craft the policy measures to overcome these challenges. From COVID relief funding for families, small businesses, states and cities, to infrastructure investment, baby bonds, police accountability and voting rights, we have a lot to get accomplished.
Raise a glass to our president-elect and vice president-elect. Raise a glass to our first woman VP, a woman of Jamaican-American, Indian-American, Black and South Asian heritage, a HBCU graduate, and an Alpha Kappa Alpha soror. Raise a glass to an administration that that has committed to include our voices. And then organize, organize,organize.