Opinion: Dems to African-American Women: This Time We Mean It

So why was Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee, making an appearance at this year’s Essence Festival in New Orleans, an event known for its high-powered mix of music, culture and empowerment, geared to engage black women globally? Did he see and enjoy “Girls Trip,” the 2017 mega-hit about the reunion of four black female buddies, set against the backdrop of the festival, and decide to get in on the fun, maybe take in a Janet Jackson concert?

Or was he connecting with his party’s most loyal base, which has carried the electoral load for years, and has also expressed dissatisfaction when that contribution was downplayed or overlooked?

Opinion: A Not Entirely Unexpected Campaign Roadblock for Women of Color

The women of color who are still standing in an electoral slog that ends in November know their road to continued success will be hard. This is the United States, and the fact that they are still pioneers for getting this far in 2018 is not just news-making but also a little depressing.

It is also true that they can’t always count on the support of some of the same feminists they may have joined — in marches, #MeToo protests and the ballot box.

Women Score Big in Key Primaries

In the United States, an African-American woman has never been elected governor. That may happen in 2018 if Stacey Abrams is elected in Georgia. Though she has a tough road, she passed the first hurdle Tuesday night when she was overwhelmingly chosen to be the Democrats’ nominee. In many states, in races for state and federal offices, women are stepping up. What are their chances in November? It’s unclear for now – but you can’t win if you’re not playing, and this election season, women are definitely in it.

Michelle Obama Cuts Donald Trump Down to Size

Michelle Obama is a powerful voice to have in your corner. She is a singular presence who is — at the same time — Everywoman. But if you get on her bad side, if you demonstrate with word and deed that you disrespect the people and things she cares about, watch out.

In Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday, a campaign appearancefor Hillary Clinton became much more. But I’m sure Clinton didn’t mind. The first lady, with raw and visible emotion, put into words what many have been feeling since a cascade of revelations, video tapes and recorded conversations filled in any possible blanks on the character of Donald Trump, on his treatment of — and judgments about — women.

Powerful yet vulnerable black women: A contradiction rooted in history

A recent study on black women in America delivered a mixed, even contradictory message. The report from the Black Women’s Roundtable found that while black women in the United States are making strides in education and business and affecting political trends with stellar voter turnout numbers, they remain more vulnerable to health problems and violence than any other group. Their strength at the polls is not reflected in elected positions. So, the situation is — at the same time — hopeful and frustrating, many steps forward with persistent, historical hurdles still blocking the way.

What is at first glance confusing makes perfect sense, though. Despite the reality show image of sassy, in control and intimidating black women taking charge and needing no help from anyone, the American story is consistent with the study. It is a tale of black women as invisible, misjudged and resilient through it all –integral and nurturing, yet set apart. They have survived, thrived and led, in spite of obstacles that have often kept them vulnerable, a term seldom used to describe black women.

Why We Love Michelle

Michelle Obama is certainly a different kind of First Lady – in style and substance. The moment she appears before a crowd, people reach out to touch her. She shakes hands, leaning in to share a laugh. She is the first African American to occupy the unelected but strategically and symbolically important position, but her special talents have made her influential across the world.

Do black women need lessons on ‘leaning in’?

Although Sheryl Sandberg’s book came out just weeks ago, it seems we’ve been talking “Lean In” forever. Is the manifesto about women not doing enough or trying to do too much? Will busy working women be able to spare the time to see its lessons as valuable rather than additions to already crowded to-do lists? If women feel guilty about shortchanging home or work, is that really Sandberg’s fault?

As women decide which points in her message to hold close and which ones might be wiser to disregard, black working women, as well as all women in jobs light years away from the Facebook chief operating officer’s lofty perch, are taking at least one piece of advice from Sandberg: They are speaking up.