Why Are We Not Our Sister’s Keeper? by Cheryl Jones, Lowery Institute Staff

By January 29, 2019 Voices of Change 3 Comments

Last week, on the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday, California Senator, Kamala Harris, announced her bid to run for President of the United States in 2020.

As a supporter of women and men alike, when I see both muster the courage to be politically engaged, I am rejoiced. I am  particularly ecstatic to see women take the plunge because women have an enormously rich heritage of participating in politics as candidates, wives of candidates, companions and family members of political office holders as well.

Unfortunately, moments later, as I strolled my text messages and Facebook feed, I began seeing women’s responses to Harris’s presidential bid. The first text message that I received was from a female friend stating:

“Not to be a naysayer but I just don’t think she can win.”

This comment was like hearing finger nails  scratching a chalkboard and made me instantly envision women exchanging cryptic remarks and going blow for blow during the weekly Battle Royale better known as reality shows.

This was appalling to me, because my immediate thoughts were not about whether or not she would or could win. I was just excited to know that a woman of color, a graduate of a prominent HBCU, Howard University has decided she will be running for the highest position in the country. This is a woman who has also been extremely vocal about the power misuse and imbalance of current leaders.

What more do you want or could ask for ?!

When thinking of these women, I did not think about whether or not she could or would win. I thought about the #HERitage and HERstory of Kamala Harris’s bid. Every time a Black woman takes a stand to make a positive change in the world, it is a bold choice to be her ancestor’s wildest dreams.

In support of Harris, I immediately thought about women such as:

Shirley Chisolm, Presidential Candidate, New York Representative, and Educator

Sojourner Truth, Women’s Rights Activist and Abolitionist

Fannie Lou Hammer, Community Organizer, CO-Founder and Vice Chair of the Freedom Democratic Party

bell hooks, Author, Feminist,  Scholar,  Gloria Jean Watkins

Francis Crest Welsing, Afrocentric Psychiatrist

Patricia Roberts Harris, Diplomat

Let’s join in supporting and uplifting women political candidates, women that handle workplace politics, and women that are surviving everyday politics of life.

It is time to be our sister’s literal keeper in order to move forward and to progress – this results in a true win.

Being your Sister’s keeper is non-negotiable and essential for the common welfare of all women of color.  We must repair and restore our cause to sustain and protect the progress of our womanhood.

As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, I would be remiss if I did not mention the way our organization has always celebrated community and public service. An article on CNN.com  recognizes the mounting support the organization has for Ms. Harris.

*This is not a candidate endorsement. The candidate views expressed here are those of the writer. The Lowery Institute as a non-partisan organization.


  • Lori James says:

    Thank you Ms. Jones for eloquently expressing your thoughts regarding Senator Harris and her decision to put her hat in the ring for President. This morning, I had an opportunity to watch a small portion of the talk show “The View.” Of course, during this talk show, the ladies discussed the fact that Senator Harris has decided to run for the highest office in the nation. However, the majority of the comments had nothing to do with the fact that she is female. There were many more comments regarding social and political views, as well as her platform. There were concerns about her desire to provide a single payer healthcare system, and free college for everyone, and minimum concern about the country being ready for a female President, which was immediately shut down.

    As we know, there will be many candidates entering the Presidential ring on the Democratic side, both male and female. At this point, they all have an equal chance of winning or not winning. Right now, the only big question about a losing ticket seems to be Mr. Schultz’s consideration of running as an Independent. Nevertheless, he believes he has a good chance of ousting the current occupier of the White House.

    My final thoughts are: 1) It will be an interesting race. 2) 2016 taught us that we cannot predict who will win until Election Day. 3) Instead of looking at gender, color and bank accounts, I hope we will pay attention to rhetoric, policies/track record, history, intentions, beliefs, and supporters. 4) How many people, who were saying, “Obama is my President,” after the 2008 election, were supporting him when he first threw his hat in the ring and said he was going to run for President?

    Just a few thoughts from Dr. Lori James

  • Nigel says:

    I have mixed feelings about this article. I believe that as a country, especially in the black community , we need to do a better job in uplifting black people that belong to marginalized genders. There have been too many times where I have seen anti-black and misongynistic comments and posts about black woman and how they are unfit to do anything. I believe that black women leaders are some of the of the best leaders the world has ever seen. And since I grew up around women of AKA, I do have a soft spot for people that belong to the soroity. However, I am still on the fence about Ms. Harris. I do understand that she is fighting in a system that she was never meant to exist in, which is amazing, but she doesn’t seem to choose a side when it comes to criminal justice. Sometimes she does cool things such as implementing a “racial-basis” police training and speaking out aganist other politicans but other times she does skeptical things such as trying to release fewer people from jail and letting police stations continue their discrimintory practices. I’m not saying that Harris hasn’t done a lot of good, but in order to be my Sister’s Keeper, I have to hold her accountable for her actions and make sure that she doesn’t spread harm to others, especially black people.

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