NCBW National President E. Faye Williams congratulates Secretary Hillary Clinton
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Congress of Black Women (NCBW) salutes Secretary Hillary Clinton on her historic accomplishment as the first woman Presidential nominee of a major US political party. “As the presumptive Democratic Party nominee, this is a major moment, not just in American history, but a point of reflection of just how far women have come and have to go” says, NCBW National President and CEO, Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq.
As I watched and listened to Secretary Clinton’s historic acceptance speech, I couldn’t help but think about the incomparable Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm who was a co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), the National Organization for Women (NOW) and our organization—NCBW. She was the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress, and in 1972, she was the first woman ever to run for President of the United States on the Democratic Party’s ticket. During her first term in Congress, she hired an all-female staff and spoke out for civil rights, women’s rights, the poor and against the Vietnam War. She remarked that, “Women in this country must become revolutionaries. We must refuse to accept the old, the traditional roles and stereotypes.” In 1984, with Dr. C. DeLores Tucker, she founded the National Congress of Black Women because Black women were shut out of the Democratic Convention. I couldn’t help but wonder how proud they would be while cautiously imploring us not to rest and get to work as there is still much more work to do!
As I listened to Secretary Clinton I couldn’t help but consider the great work and the margin in which, women generally, and Black women in particular, provided to elect and re-elect President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Lest we forget, we are the most consistent and highest voting bloc in the Democratic Party, but we are still often overlooked and underrepresented, as well. As I listened to Secretary Clinton with pride, I thought of the ground work laid by Shirley and C. DeLores and the work continued by NCBW, NOW, NACOPRW and others, I am reminded that when it comes to income little has changed between 1972 and 2016. Although women have a rich history of leadership in their communities, we are still underrepresented in all levels of the economy and government. Today women make 78 cents to every dollar and Black and Latina women make just 64 cents and 59 cents respectively to every dollar. So, yes while I celebrate the victory, I am reminded of just how long the road to equality for women is.
When Hillary wins, and make no mistake about it, she will, Black women will again advocate to ensure her success as we’ve done in the past for others who share our values. Why? Because her success should be our success. No doubt about it, when she wins, Black women’s strength in voting will have been a big part of her success! Her success will continue the success of the rights of all women that President Barack Obama began the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and other similar initiatives. Once she is elected, let’s not make the mistake of believing that we are now living in a gender neutral society. Too many made that mistake about race when President Obama was elected. In the meantime, Secretary Clinton should take her victory lap. In the words of the woman, Shirley Chisholm, who paved the way for Hillary’s success, “We must reject not only the stereotypes that others hold of us, but also the stereotypes that we hold of ourselves.”