This week we lost another great American in Senator John McCain. The Republican from Arizona was often at odds with his party and led from his heart over the good of the party (sometimes). His casting the deciding vote to keep the Affordable Care Act alive was a defining moment in American politics that affirmed his reputation as a maverick.
Why would anyone want to be a maverick? It must have felt good to bring his colleagues down a notch when they were particularly arrogant. And I bet having folks grovel at your feet, pleading with you him not to be a maverick and vote the party line, was ‘fun’ at times. However, to be an effective maverick you need to be powerful in your own right. McCain was a rich, white male, elected multiple times to represent the people of Arizona who had years of political capital to spend as he pleased.
Sisters, can we be mavericks? Can we stick our middle fingers up to the political elite and demand what we need and want? YES. WE. CAN!
Here are at least three things women of color need to do to show off our maverick status and to leverage our political power!
First, educate yourself about the issues affecting you, your family and community. I realize that the list of things to be concerned about is long, so don’t try to boil the ocean. Pick one issue or cause and be a champion and advocate for that thing. Know the details about the issue or cause like the back of your hand.
Second, engage with women of color who are passionate about different issues. Expand your circle and learn how sisters are shaping a political agenda on other key issues. Learn from them and share what you know and gain a reputation for being THE source of information about the topic.
Third, activate your power on your issue and the issues of your network. Don’t sit back and bellyache about what is wrong. Write letters, call, send postcards, march, and most important VOTE. Don’t let anyone or anything silence you or limit your power.
Join WE CAN to help you connect with a national multicultural, multi-issue network! WE CAN is here to help you learn more about the issues you care about and to connect you with other women of color seeking to create change. There is no cost to join WE CAN, but you all know a donation would help!
Sisters we MUST work together to leverage our political power. We MUST work across race/ethnicity–African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latinx and Native American–and link arms under one big tent. When we do, we will have the political power that not only changes election outcomes but also changes policy outcomes!
Yours in solidarity,
Founder and President