A record number of Black women are running for Congress in 2020

The United States is in the midst of two cataclysmic events that have had a massive impact on the Black community. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has already killed over 150,000 Americans, has disproportionately affected Black people who are dying at the rate of two to three times higher than their share of the population.

At the same time, America has been coming to grips with deep-seeded racial inequality after the death of George Floyd in March.

Both issues will require bold political solutions, so it's more important than ever for Black people to be represented in positions of power.


The good news is that this year, a record number of Black women filed to run for Congress and 60 of those candidates still have a chance to be elected, either because they've won their primaries or they haven't been held yet.

Some of these candidates will surely be added to the 23 Black women who currently serve in Congress, itself a record number.

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Pam Keith, a Navy veteran running in the Democratic primary for a Florida congressional seat, believes the number of Black women in Congress has been growing because people have become more familiar with seeing them in office.

She told Reuters that "people are becoming more comfortable with seeing different kinds of people in Congress. You don't know what it looks like to have powerful Black women in Congress until you see powerful Black women in Congress."

According to a new report by Reuters, "Between 2018 and 2019, Black women saw the largest gain in representation at the state legislative level since 1994. In 2019, a record number of Black women serve in state legislative office."

While the report is encouraging there is still more work to be done. Reuters also reports that Black women are 7.6% of the American population but less than 5% of the total elected to statewide executive offices, state legislatures, and Congress. Less than 2% of all statewide elected officials are Black women and none have ever been elected governor.

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There is also a huge chasm between Black women's representation across the political divide. Of the 23 women who serve n Congress, including 22 representatives and one Senator, all of them are Democrats.

The only Black Republican woman to serve in Congress, Mia Love, was defeated in her bid for re-election to the U.S. House in 2018.

Despite the fact that Black women are underrepresented in government, it doesn't mean they aren't major participants in the political process. Black women make up the highest participation rate of any group that voted in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.

Black women have no trouble getting to the polls, so it's wonderful to see that more of them have the opportunity to vote for someone who shares their background. Let's hope this trend continues until Black women are equally represented at all levels of government.

"We need to have more people, average, everyday American citizens who are there fighting for average, everyday American citizens," Kimberly Walker, a veteran and former corrections officer from Florida running for Congress, told Reuters.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.