LAAAWPPI alumni share thoughts on the Presidential Election

039jSouth of the 10 continues to look at the upcoming Presidential election, from the point of view of African-American women.  Although the column appears on City Watch LA, the column is edited before being published.  Here is the unedited version.

South of the 10:  Is Hillary Clinton the de facto Choice for Black Women?

Two weeks ago 2 Urban Girls discussed African-American men supporting the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton and caused quite an uproar. While the article looked at why Black men supporting HRC, commenters remarked why would ANY Black person support her?  Most articles speculate that HRC has the woman vote sewn up.

According to the Center for American Women and Politics, in every presidential election, since 1980, the proportion of eligible female adults who voted, far exceeded the proportion of eligible males who voted.

Last week, social media was ablaze with African-American women posting selfies with Hillary Clinton, during an appearance at the California African-American Museum (CAAM) in Exposition Park, at the request of Congresswomen Karen Bass (D-CA37) and Maxine Waters (D-CA43).

Many of the women on hand are political movers and shakers with many being members of an established political organization focused on grooming African-American women for a career in politics.

The Los Angeles African-American Women’s Public Policy Institute (LAAAWPPI), is the premier organization, for women of color seeking a more active role in civic engagement, since its creation in June 2004.  Women who join LAAWPPI have backgrounds ranging from running nonprofits, working with elected officials and serving on various boards and commissions, throughout Los Angeles County.  Curious as to why women of color are supporting Hillary, I spoke with several alumni, “baby boomers” to “millennials” about their reasoning.

Charity Chandler- Cole, a contract manager with an international charitable organization, is willing to give Hillary Clinton the opportunity to right wrongs set by former POTUS Bill Clinton’s policies in regards to the mass incarceration of African-Americans.

“One thing to consider here is the fact that [former President] Clinton admitted that what he did was wrong [Bill Clinton signing minimum/maximum sentencing laws] and they (Hillary and Bill) are now in a position to right that wrong. I am personally interested in seeing what her plans are with criminal justice reform and how we can not only bring our sisters and brothers home but also ensure that they have the proper resources to get back on their feet and thrive as productive members of society.” says Chandler-Cole.

Joy Atkinson, Executive Director of the Los Angeles African-American Women’s Public Policy Institute (LAAAWPPI) is no stranger to politics.  Her father was the first African-American to run for Los Angeles City Council.

“I have been around the political arena for many years and I think I know what [issues] politicians can and can’t deliver.  Mrs. Clinton served as an attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund and helped stop the incarceration of teenagers in adult prisons and worked for the rights of disabled children in Massachusetts.” says Atkinson.

“She also tackled the desegregation policies of Mississippi way after the 1954 decision to not segregate school children. She has been and still is an advocate for women’s rights.  As Secretary of State under President Obama, she was able to negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas,” says Atkinson.

Atkinson is also looking to separate fact from fiction when it comes to people’s perception of Hillary.

“Would somebody give me some reliable proof that Hillary Clinton is a “crook” and can’t be “trusted” – I mean some evidence and not innuendo.” says Atkinson.

Many would think trigger words like “Whitewater” “Benghazi” “Email Server” would emit some concern in the areas of “trust”, yet that doesn’t seem to apply here.

Hillary Clinton has also managed to finagle the support of Compton Mayor Aja Brown.

Speaking at an event hosted by hosted by the Center for American Progress (CAP) and the America Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in early 2015, Hillary publicly floated the idea of offering the mayor a job if elected President.

“Don’t be surprised if you get a call,” Mrs. Clinton said after praising the Democratic mayor’s anti-gang programs.

More than 70 percent of black women voted in 2012, out-voting white women (65.6 percent), white men (62.6 percent), and black men (61.4 percent). Exit poll data from Democratic primaries in 2016, show black women continue to make up a larger proportion of the Democratic electorate than black men.

In 2008 and 2012, 96 percent of black women voters cast their ballots for Barack Obama.   Will those same women show up for Hillary Rodham Clinton?

Not all women of color have made Hillary Clinton their de facto choice for President. 

Next week’s column will look at African-American women who are supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders.


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