On Sunday, September 18, #MIAMIGIRL joined a group of successful young Miami women for a Black Girl Magic roundtable sponsored by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Miami’s leading Black community activists, advocates, educators and entrepreneurs gathered at the Jackson Soul Food restaurant in Overtown to discuss the upcoming presidential elections and to engage young African American women to vote for the candidates that will improve day-to-day lives of Black Neighborhoods everywhere and particularly in Miami.

The major concern expressed by all participants of the discussion was their feeling that most of the political candidates and policy-makers can not relate to the struggles of Black women and their communities. “I’m tired of being lumped up into the bigger groups. We need policies that target “Black” issues instead of “People of Color” issues,” said Valencia Gunder. She stated: “We need people who are not afraid to say that is a “Black” issue.”

Miami Black Girl Magic
Valencia Gunder leading the discussion.

What’s important to consider is the fact that these Black American Millennial women are also Miami women. When they say they feel excluded, misunderstood, or underrepresented, we have to listen and learn. There is always a big chance we are making exactly the same mistakes as a community as we are as a nation. These Black Miami women speaking to the policy-makers are the voices of Overtown, Liberty City, and Little Haiti. When we hear these Miami women say “they don’t care enough,” we have to check if we as a city and its citizens do enough caring. When we hear these Miami women say nobody can understand their unique struggles, we have to feel guilty for being insensitive to our neighbors.

Miami Black Girl Magic
Fayola Delica and Sharonda Wright-Placide

Miami has been leading a great countywide effort engaging its communities and encouraging conversation between them in order to solve our most pressing issues collectively. We’ve been waiting for this conversation to start and have so much to say to contribute to the discussion. One thing we shouldn’t forget is to listen.

Women’s issues are on the forefront of the upcoming elections. This is what Black Miami women want us to know when we go to cast our vote on November 8:

  • In order to fight for women’s rights we have to fight for all women’s rights. Intersectionality is the concept that demonstrates the way our experiences vary based on gender, class, race, and sexuality.
  • Intersectionality means that when we talk about closing the pay gap, we are not only closing it between men and women, we are also closing it between white women and women of color.
  • State of Florida is actively trying to legislate women’s bodies. Defunding Planned Parenthood will restrict access to critical health care and education for many minority women. Most of the Planned Parenthood clinics are in the minority neighborhoods.
  • One in five women in America are sexually assaulted. Black women are 35 percent more likely than white women to be victims of violence.
  • In addition, the Black community doesn’t provide a pathway for healing. Many Black women follow the Queen Code by never showing weakness and carrying the trauma throughout their lives and often get an “angry black woman” stigma.
  • Climate change is a Black woman’s issue. While ecological issues affect all of us, minority neighborhoods suffer the most. When natural disasters hit Black Neighborhoods women get affected the most, as many of them are single mothers providing for their families.
Miami Black Girl Magic
Amber Voughan, Dana Joseph, Kilan Bishop, Francesca Menes, and Valencia Gunder.

The one-hour discussion moderated by Kilan Bishop went live on the Hillary for Florida Facebook page where it can be watched in its entirety. The girls made us laugh, they made us cry, but most importantly, they told us what they think we can all do to be a better community.

Ekaterina Juskowski
Ekaterina Juskowski

Founder and executive editor of #MIAMIGIRL

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