A Day of Hope with the Rising Majority
By Flavia Jimenez | Managing Director of Organizational Development and Leadership
On a February day that started with a downpour and ended with blustery winds in the nation’s capital, something extraordinary happened in the auditorium of Howard University School of Law. It was not a call to action as much as it was a challenge to change the entire paradigm under which we are focusing movements and power building.
Rising Majority—a network of grassroots social justice organizations—gathered a group of activists, leaders and organizers to make clear that people of color and traditionally marginalized communities have a new vision for the future. Jessica Byrd from Three Point Strategies and Maurice Mitchell from the Working Families Party provided context for the current state of affairs, making clear that the flexing of the white power muscle was directed at the strength of Black and Brown-led movements. The right-wing authoritarian movements globally bankrolled by capitalist greed have gained power as people-led movements are creating more resistance.
Are we able to use electoral power to challenge the status quo? The answer is a resounding YES.
Then The Squad came on stage: Four Congresswomen who have themselves been part of movements in their past work and who mirror the audience full of vibrant people fighting for justice.
- Alejandra Ocasio Cortez (D-NY)
- Ayanna Presley (D-MA)
- Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)
- Ilhan Omar (D-MN)
The moderator and co-host and producer of Democracy Now!, Nermeen Shaikh, asked these remarkable women about their paths, what they represent, and their role in the bigger global context. Each of them made a point to come back to their stories—stories that have been marginalized by a white majority in the past, stories that threaten, stories that are easily dismissed unless they are told over and over again.
Congresswoman Omar said it best: “We are never going to be dismissed, unless we allow ourselves to be dismissed.” Telling their stories, challenging the paradigm, creating a new bold vision that goes well beyond what we have been told is possible; that is, what these leaders are doing.
“We are often called disrupters,” said Pressley. “If we were in Silicon Valley, we would be called innovators.”
At the end of the day, when I picked up my 10-year-old daughter from the school bus, I told her I had seen The Squad on stage. “You met them?” she asked. “No, I saw and heard them,” I said. “Wow!” she replied with glee. I know it’s because she sees herself in them. They give me hope. For now, that is what I can work on: The hope that we can tell our stories, build power and that we can connect and see that we are in fact a rising majority working on shared principles across the globe.
Flavia Jiménez serves as Managing Director of Organizational Leadership and Development for Advancement Project National Office.