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Is Hillary Clinton the de facto Choice for Black Women?

SOUTH OF THE 10-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 are supporting HRC, commenters remarked, why would ANY Black person support her? Most articles speculate that HRC has the women’s 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 when she appeared at the California African-American Museum (CAAM) in Exposition Park at the request of Congresswomen Karen Bass (D-CA37) and Maxine Waters (D-CA43). (Photo above.) 

Many of the women on hand were 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) has, since June 2004, been the premier organization for women of color seeking a more active role in civic engagement. Women who join LAAWPPI have backgrounds ranging from running nonprofits to working with elected officials to 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. 

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,” Atkinson remarked. 

“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,” said 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,” continued 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 American 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.

 

(Melissa Hébert is an alumni of California State University Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science and a member of LAAAWPPI. She is the editor-in-chief of blog 2urbangirls.com and host of the Urban Girl Show. Melissa is also President of School Site Council in Inglewood Unified School District and is the mother of two handsome sons. She can be reached at [email protected]) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.