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.

via Wikimedia Commons

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.

via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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JediMentat 44 / Flickr

Starbucks is the most popular coffee chain in the world and it's also one of the greatest producers of waste. The company uses more than 8,000 coffee cups per minute, which adds up to four billion a year. Over 1.6 million trees are harvested every year to make its disposable cups.

Since the cups are lined with plastic only four cities in the U.S. will accept them for recycling.

Starbucks has attempted to address this issue in the past by making bold proclamations that it will reduce its waste production, but unfortunately, they have yet to yield substantial results.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less