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Black Women Will Elect the Next President

Freddie Allen (NNPA Newswire Managing Editor) | 10/25/2016, 1:21 p.m.
Black women will play a key role in electing the next president, according to a recent report by the American ...
Denise Rolark Barnes said that Black women voters could make a monumental difference in the outcome of the 2016 election, just like they did in 2012. This photo was taken during a recent press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

Black women will play a key role in electing the next president, according to a recent report by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

The AFL-CIO is a national trade group and the largest federation of unions in the United States.

Carmen Berkley, the director of civil, human and women’s rights policy at the AFL-CIO said that the labor group wanted to provide context to the power that Black women voters have displayed over the past two presidential election cycles. In the briefing paper, researchers provided a case for why labor unions and non-profit organizations should be paying attention to Black women.

“Without Black women, President Obama would not have won the White House in 2012,” said Berkley. “Black women voters delivered in key battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida where President Obama picked up 67 additional electoral votes.”

Berkley continued: “If Black women had not turned out, President Obama would have been five electoral votes shy of winning the presidency.”

Denise Rolark Barnes, the publisher of The Washington Informer and chairwoman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) said that Black women voters could make a monumental difference in the outcome of the 2016 election, just like they did in 2012.

But Rolark Barnes also expressed concerns that neither of the presidential candidates have touched on the issues that are important to Black women and single parents, who are also the primary breadwinners in their families; issues like health care, education and the environment are very important to Black women and their families.

“I don’t think we’ve heard enough from the candidates about how they plan to address issues that affect Black and Latino families,” Rolark Barnes said.

Recently, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke at a campaign rally in Durham, N.C., flanked by “Mothers of the Movement,” a group of Black women who have lost children to gun violence or during interactions with law enforcement. The group included Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis and Geneva Reed-Veal, the mother of Sandra Bland.

Clinton also delivered remarks at the Black Women’s Agenda conference in September, where she acknowledged that even though the contributions of Black women are “often missing from the history books — make no mistake — you are the change makers, the path breakers, and the ground shakers. And, you are proof that yes, indeed, Black girl magic is real.”

Berkley said that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has said that he knows the Black community, but he hasn’t proven that he understands the impact that Black people, especially Black women, have on society.

“Black women drive turnout for the Black community,” said Berkley. “We care a lot about police reform, raising the minimum wage, protecting social security and we are economically liberal when it come to the government.”

Berkley also noted that Black women have been very reliable voters in the past two election cycles. In 2012 and 2014 Black women voted at higher rates than other women.