There are more black women running for local, state and federal offices than ever before in history. Four Chicago area women, who decided it was their turn, will take part in a discussion of their journeys as candidates for congress, attorney general, cook county commissioner and alderman Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, at Truth Italian Restaurant, 56 E. Pershing Rd., Chicago, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. as part of the Ida B. Wells Legacy Committee’s “Legacy & Libations” summer event.
Among the panelists are Congressional nominee Lauren Underwood, former candidate for Illinois Attorney General Sharon Fairley, Cook County Commissioner nominee Donna Miller and aldermanic candidate Nicole Johnson. Although, in the March primary election, three of the women had different results, they share stories of facing the same obstacles.
For Underwood, Fairley and Miller, they were the first African-American women to ever run for their respective offices.
“The only people that have ever come out of our district are middle-aged white men. And so I think that there’s just an interest in having a different voice represent our community. Now, the fact that I’m a millennial woman of color is very different,” said Underwood in a recent NPR interview. She beat out six white men to become the nominee in the 14th District, which is 89 percent white.
Although a number of women candidates are under 30, according to a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Atlantic only 28 percent of young adults ages 18 to 29 say they are “absolutely certain” they will vote in midterms, compared to 74 percent of seniors.
Young voters, who say their want change, are the largest eligible voting bloc, surpassing Baby Boomers whose numbers are declining due to death. Unlike their older counterparts at the same age, however, millennials have a track record of low turnout in midterms.
“Right now the ‘blue wave’ is being powered by suburban professional women, but to fully capitalize on 2018, Democrats need to energize young voters and voters of color,” Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report told Vox.
It is for this reason that Ida’s Legacy, a political action committee whose mission is to develop the next generation of progressive African-American women candidates, has hosted a series of events during its first year to attract women of varying age groups.
“Legacy & Libations is our summer mixer that we hope will encourage more women to network with each other, get politically active, and support progressive black women candidates for office at every level of government,” says Delmarie Cobb, founder of Ida’s Legacy.
All events sponsored by Ida’s Legacy are intended to educate voters and make politics and campaigning more approachable. For ticket information, go to www.idaslegacy.com or call 312-948-9951.