Women of Color Protest at Governor Newsom’s Offices to Urge Appointment of a Black Woman to Kamala Harris’ Senate Seat


“Like a modern-day Harriet Tubman, VP-Elect Kamala Harris opened the door to claim a seat at the U.S. Senate table. U.S. Congresswomen Karen Bass or Barbara Lee should carry the torch lit by Harris.”
— Marie Y. Lemelle, CA Black Women Coalition


Platinum Star Public Relations | Courtesy of CA Black Media

Los Angeles, CA — The movement of powerful and politically active Black women throughout California and the U.S. will continue to join forces to strongly urge California Governor Gavin Newsom to appoint either Rep. Karen Bass or Rep. Barbara Lee to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated upon the ascension of VP-elect Kamala Harris to her new position. Taking the movement from social media and phone calls targeting Newsom’s office, two protests of elected officials, influential Black women, allies, and organizers will take place on Tuesday, December 15 from 11 a.m. to noon at California Governor Gavin Newsom offices at the California State Capitol, 10th and L Streets, Sacramento, CA 95814 and Ronald Reagan Building, 300 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013.

“Black women play a critical role in everything I do and say, and I would love to see a Black woman replace our Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-South Carolina, the majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives and highest-ranking African American in Congress. “U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif. 13), and U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif. 37) are both qualified and prepared to be California’s next junior senator.”

“If gender equity is California’s promise as stated by First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, we are calling in that promise from the Governor’s office,” said Northern California Protest Leader Hon. Shay Franco-Clausen, Corresponding Secretary CDP Black Caucus and Silicon Valley Chapter lead for BWOPA. Black women voted in record numbers to deliver a victory to Democrats and this Country. It’s time to make room at the table we helped build and uplift Black women. California needs to replace Vice President Elect Kamala Harris seat with another Black woman.

“Black women in the Democratic Party have saved this country over and over again,” said Molly Watson, Board Member, Black Women’s Democratic Club. “If a Black woman is not appointed, our country loses the Black woman’s voice in the U.S. Senate.”

“Failing to appoint a women of color is a step back,” said Amiee Allison, President, She the People. “This is a moment for the governor to rise to the challenge.” In 2016, Californians voters chose a progressive Black woman to represent them in the Senate. The voters’ will must be respected by appointing a progressive Black woman to replace VP-elect Kamala Harris.

Historically, Black women are blatantly excluded from leadership roles. Kamala Harris, the only Black woman in the U.S. Senate, changed the game for us and proved that a Black woman is invaluable to the progression of California and our Nation. Let’s not forget that Black women voted in record numbers to deliver a victory to Democrats and our country. “Karen Bass and Barbara Lee can fill those shoes perfectly without breaking their stride,” said Alfre Woodard Spencer, an actress and activist.

“Like a modern-day Harriet Tubman, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris kicked opened the door to claim a seat at the U.S. Senate table,” said Marie Y. Lemelle, MBA, former State Board Member for Barbering and Cosmetology and City of Glendale Commission on the Status of Women. “Harris’ legacy is to lead more Black women to the table who will represent a forgotten but strong California population.” It is no surprise that women are already underrepresented in the U.S. Senate; and that is unacceptable. California should continue to buck the trend and send another Black woman to the U.S. Senate.

December 1st marked the 65th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat. Her right to keep her seat was a symbol of will power and the right to claim a prominent place in this world. We are ready to repeat the historic and courageous move that Ms. Parks made to demand respect and inclusion. She stood her ground without a coalition of Black women by her side. We earned the right to #KeeptheSeat and will continue to fight to never give up our seat to represent all people but especially the largest population in the State of California.

We live the values of gender equality, fairness, community, diversity, and authenticity that are essential to strong leadership. We ask that you do not overlook our progressive leaders Bass and Lee to carry the torch lit by Kamala Harris. Don’t dim the light of the Black woman’s spotlight and voice.

There is no doubt that Bass and Lee are ready to take on the challenges and issues that face Californians. They have the experience and the relationships to step in Kamala Harris’ shoes and step up to the table with confidence and determination. They know how to get the work done in Congress while advocating for the needs of Californians.

This is our time, and we are staking our claim to the seat that Kamala Harris earned with the support of Black women. Diversity in our leaders is the core to who we are in California. Together, we benefit from a variety in experiences and perspectives.

Tell Gov. Newsom why we need to #KeepTheSeat and #AppointABlackWoman, write to the Governor’s Chief of Staff Ann O’Leary at ann.oleary@gov.ca.gov.

For more information or the #KeepTheSeat toolkit, contact Marie Y. Lemelle, Platinum Star PR at (213) 276-7827 or marielemelle@platinumstarpr.com.

#SheGotNext California Edition: US Congresswomen Karen Bass and Barbara Lee. Video by Glynda Carr of Higher Heights for America Political Action Committee.

#SheGotNext Cali Edition: Karen Bass and Barbara Lee

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