The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation has demanded California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom appoint a Black woman to the U.S. Senate seat it expects will soon be vacated by Kamala Harris.
Several major news outlets projected the Democratic ticket of Joe Biden and Harris had won the presidential election 10 days ago. President Donald Trump, however, has not conceded, alleging voter fraud occurred in several swing states. If Trump’s challenges and lawsuits are unsuccessful, it’s up to Newsom to select a replacement to serve out Harris’ Senate term, which ends in 2022.
— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) November 17, 2020
BLM leaders are soliciting signatures for a petition calling on the governor to succumb to the organization’s demand. The appeal says, “without Kamala Harris, there are no Black women in the Senate at all,” adding, “we’re going to make it clear to Governor Newsom that appointing a Black woman to this seat is nonnegotiable.”
Two BLM allies currently representing California congressional districts in the U.S. House of Representatives are on the activist network’s shortlist: Rep. Karen Bass, who was reportedly considered for Biden’s vice-presidential nominee, and Rep. Barbara Lee, who just won re-election to her 13th term. The suggestions echo the California Legislative Black Caucus’ endorsements, which also urged Newsom to choose from the two established, progressive lawmakers.
The petition, titled “Tell Gov. Newsom He Must Appoint a Black Woman to the Senate,” states:
Rep. Bass has been Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus since 2018 and co-authored the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 earlier this year. During her time in the California state Senate and as a House member, Rep. Lee has been a constant advocate for Black people and women.
All in all, these Black women are overwhelmingly qualified, and most importantly, they’re dedicated in the fight for Black liberation. Their leadership and ability to form coalitions and act on pressing issues is proven in their records – without this type of leadership in the Senate from Black women, how are Black people supposed to feel counted and represented?
Like we saw in the recent election, the Democratic party has become reliant on Black people, particularly Black women. If it weren’t for Black voters and organizers across the country, we would have seen a very different electoral outcome. If Governor Newsom is serious about his role in the Democratic party, he will deliver to his base and answer our call to appoint a Black woman to the Senate.
The Sacramento Bee recently reported that other progressive groups are pushing for Newsom to appoint a Latino, calling California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla “strong contenders for the position.”
The outlet went on to report that the California Democratic Party Black Caucus plans to host a rally at the state Capitol on November 21 to promote both Bass and Lee as a possible successor.
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