After one of the most contentious Senate races in recent memory, Democrat Doug Jones defeated opponent Roy Moore, who was accused of sexual misconduct by nine women, in Alabama’s special election in December. Black women were the ones to make it happen.
They out-voted all other demographics that day, with 98 percent of black women casting a vote for Jones. In contrast, 63 percent of white women who voted did so for Moore.
“America got one more confirmation that Black women are superheroes who save the day time and time again,” wrote Luvvie Ajayi, author of I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual on her blog after the election. “I am tired of the world being run into the ground by white men who prove time and time again that they are ill-equipped.”
Ajayi was inspired to find a list of black women politicians she could support. Not finding any, she enlisted the help of three friends to create Black Women in Politics, a living document of black female candidates seeking election in 2018. It’s now an online database that includes more than 400 names.
To start, Ajayi, along with friends Sili Recio, Lucrecer Braxton and Candace Jones, searched through Twitter mentions, polls and did some old-fashioned googling, gathering more than 100 names of women seeking election in 2018.
The list doubled in under a month, and its creators enlisted the help of a coder to help them turn it into a searchable database. They ultimately moved the database from Ajayi’s personal website to its own domain.
The site’s mission statement explains why the database is so crucial.
“There are Black women running for political office all over the United States, and we need to know who they are,” it reads. “It is abundantly clear that we need to start following the lead of Black women, because we show up and do what is important, even when we are being disenfranchised and sabotaged from doing the work.”
As of Jan. 25, the database has 414 entries. Visitors can filter the candidates by searching for women running for federal seats, state seats and local seats. They can also choose to view candidates running specifically in blue or red states. There’s a section detailing which candidates are incumbents and which are challengers, as well as a page where where users can suggest more politicians to be added.
The database includes a disclaimer noting it is not an endorsement of every woman running.
“Think about it as a phone book,” the site states.
With midterm elections happening this November, it’s especially important for information on black female candidates to be easily accessible for those seeking to support them, Ayaji wrote on her blog.
She added that the database is just the first step. People should use the information provided in the list as a starting point for supporting these candidates.
“The goal is to make it easier to find the information we need to support those we have got to support,” she wrote.