BLACK VOICES

Meet The Black Woman Who Is Making Political History In Kentucky

Attica Scott's historical win is significant for so many reasons.
Attica Scott is poised to make both political and black history in Kentucky. 
Attica Scott is poised to make both political and black history in Kentucky. 

There's one word Attica Scott said she would use to describe her recent win at the Kentucky Democratic Primary, "sweet." 

It's an accurate description for her May 17, victory that will send Scott, who has no Republican challenger, straight to the Kentucky House in January. And an even sweeter victory considering it has been nearly 20 years since a black woman served in the state's legislature. 

"That is huge," Scott told HuffPost on the significance of her win. "It’s historical but it also sends a message that people realize that we’re trying to move Kentucky forward and the only way we’re going to do that is if we do it together." 

In claiming victory, she defeated Tom Riner, a 34 year conservative Democrat who only attracted 31 percent of the votes in the state's 41st district this year. But Scott, a relative underdog in the race, won with 54 percent of the votes. 

"It’s such a sense of humility to think that such a diverse district decided to put their votes in me over someone who had name recognition, history and three decades of service," Scott said. "I appreciate them, the voters in the district." 

Scott is a mom, long-time organizer and community leader who said she decided to run for office because it allowed her an opportunity to marry her experience in activism with her degrees in Political Science and Communications.

Scott has previously served on the state's metro council for nearly four years and is the former executive director of KY Jobs With Justice, a social services organization where she worked heavily with issues related to labor unions, immigrant worker justice, single parent healthcare and more. 

"I believe that as black people and as women we have got to serve in office," she said. "Kentucky ranks 42 of 50 states in its number of women in its state legislature, that is unacceptable. I answered the call to serve and I’m gonna work to encourage other women, especially young women, to answer that call as well." 

We need restorative justice policies and practices. We need to stop criminalizing our kids." Attica Scott

In answering that call, Scott said she plans to pursue agendas she believes deserve more critical attention like juvenile justice reform. Scott, who also said she admires the Black Lives Matter movement for what it has done to explore and elevate the conversation around police violence, was one of the most vocal people to speak out about the death of Gynna McMillen. Sixteen-year-old McMillen died in a juvenile detention center in January after guards used a marshall arts move to restraint her.

"One of the reasons why we're saying her name, Gynna McMillen, is because we need some serious reforms within our juvenile detention centers," Scott said. "Quite frankly, I believe we need restorative justice policies and practices. We need to stop criminalizing our kids, the young people who are trying to learn from their mistakes, we need to have policies that address their educational attainment, opportunities in their communities for them to make a living, rather than criminalizing them for mistakes that they’re making as young people who are frustrated with the society we’ve created." 

Scott has big plans for Kentucky. She said she's coming in with a "pro-labor, pro-worker, pro-woman, pro-black, pro-immigrant, pro-woman of color, pro-young people agenda," which will undoubtedly shake things up after more than three decades in a district led by Riner, who she described as "anti-choice and anti-fairness." 

"We totally flipped on its head," Scott said. "I am the person serving in the seat but this is about us... and serving people who often feel marginalized, powerless, voiceless and who are oppressed. This is about the we."

HuffPost

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