#BlackWomenLead: Harnessing the Political Power of Black Women

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The late Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) once said, “At present, our country needs women’s idealism and determination, perhaps more in politics than anywhere else.” This statement rings true today, and women—particularly black women—have a pivotal role to play. Currently, black women represent a significant economic and voting base within the American populace, yet they are seriously underrepresented in politics and even in the pipeline toward elected office.

Please join the Center for American Progress, Higher Heights, and the Rutgers University Center for American Women and Politics for the release of the “Status of Black Women in American Politics” report, featuring a panel discussion on developing and implementing a long-term strategy to build, expand, and support a leadership pipeline at all levels for black women and proactively harnessing their political power to influence both public policy and elections.

This comprehensive report provides a historical outline of black women’s struggle for political representation and discusses the current landscape of political leadership for black women across the country, as well as their growing political influence. It demonstrates the need for greater engagement, recruitment, and inclusion of black women in politics and government.

Opening remarks:
Daniella Gibbs Léger, Senior Vice President, American Values and New Communities, Center for American Progress
Glynda C. Carr, Co-Founder, Higher Heights

Research presentation:
Kelly Dittmar, Assistant Research Professor, Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University

Featured panelists:
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)
Delegate Charniele L. Herring, Virginia House of Delegates
Kimberly Peeler-Allen, Co-Founder, Higher Heights
Wendy G. Smooth, Associate Professor, Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, The Ohio State University

Moderated by:
Maya Harris, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress


Center for American Progress, 1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC , 20005

Additional information

A light lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m.