Massachusetts Representative-elect Ayanna Pressley remained true to the message she shared with NewsOne before winning her primary race for Congress: The Democratic Party is at a crossroads and must support Black female candidates to succeed in the future.
“I think our campaign is asking the question, ‘Democrats, are we really who we say we are or do we just roll out hashtags and bumper stickers to make for cute slogans’?” she told NewsOne when asked about the party’s failure to support her and other women of color.
See Also: Blue Party: Say Hello To The Black Wave
At a gathering Tuesday of party donors in Washington, D.C., Pressley talked to the audience about the record high number of Democratic female candidates who won elections in 2018, according to an audio recording of the event obtained by BuzzFeed News.
“Now we must push ourselves to ask the tough questions about whether or not we provided them with the institutional support so we can break through more glass and concrete ceilings as rapidly as possible,” she said, adding that the party must invest in candidate diversity, as well as inclusion at the staff level.
The House freshman class is the most racially and gender diverse in history, as the New York Times mapped out. It includes several members who are the first African-American women to represent their state or district, including Pressley, Lauren Underwood of Illinois, Jahana Hayes from Connecticut and Georgia’s Lucy McBath.
Unlike the other three, Pressley and many other Black female candidates received no support from the Democratic Party. Indeed, the party’s establishment backed Pressley’s primary opponent, 10-term incumbent Rep. Michael E. Capuano. Despite trailing in the polls leading up to the September primary, Pressley won 58.9 percent of the vote to his 41.1 percent.
Pressley, who was a Boston city council member, vowed to champion bread-and-butter issues for her constituents, such as improved housing, public health and education, as well as economic development and criminal justice reform.
She connected with struggling working-class families by promoting those progressive issues, she told NewsOne.
At the gathering Tuesday in the nation’s capital, Pressley told her audience that she discovered a “mandate for hope” while running her own campaign and supporting the campaign of other insurgent candidates.
She urged party leaders to take careful note as they navigate a course for the 2020 elections.
First Annual Urban One Honors Celebrate The Very Best Of All Black Everything
1. (L-R) Ray J, Cathy Hughes and BrandySource:Getty 1 of 41
2. DL Hughley2 of 41
3. (L-R) DJ Quicksilva, Cathy Hughes, April Ryan, June Ambrose and Michael Eric DysonSource:Getty 3 of 41
4. April Ryan4 of 41
5. Founder of Urban One, Cathy HughesSource:Getty 5 of 41
6. Marilyn Mosby, State's Attorney for Baltimore6 of 41
7. District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton7 of 41
8. Singer Elle VarnerSource:Getty 8 of 41
9. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh9 of 41
10. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes NortonSource:Getty 10 of 41
11. June Ambrose11 of 41
12. Retired NFL Player Fred SmootSource:Getty 12 of 41
13. Cathy Hughes and Tom Joyner13 of 41
14. Gia Peppers, Jade Novah and Elle Varner14 of 41
15. April Ryan and Jermaine Dupri15 of 41
16. Singer Marvin SappSource:Getty 16 of 41
17. Jermaine Dupri and Da Brat17 of 41
18. (L-R) Pamela Simpson, Donnie Simpson, April Ryan and Baltimore mayor Catherine PughSource:Getty 18 of 41
19. Tom Joyner and Brandy19 of 41
20. Shaun KingSource:Getty 20 of 41
21. April Ryan21 of 41
22. Ray J, Cathy Hughes and BrandySource:Brian Christian Photography 22 of 41
23. Traci Braxton and LA Reid23 of 41
24. BrandySource:Brian Christian Photography 24 of 41
25. The Anthem theater in Washington, D.C.25 of 41
26. RotimiSource:Brian Christian Photography 26 of 41
27. K-Ci and Michael Eric DysonSource:Brian Christian Photography 27 of 41
28. Roland Martin28 of 41
29. Chey Parker29 of 41
30. Symone Sanders and Shaun KingSource:Brian Christian Photography 30 of 41
31. Q ParkerSource:Brian Christian Photography 31 of 41
32. Michael Eric DysonSource:Brian Christian Photography 32 of 41
33. Da BratSource:Brian Christian Photography 33 of 41
34. Ray J and Traci BraxtonSource:Brian Christian Photography 34 of 41
35. K-Ci HaileySource:Brian Christian Photography 35 of 41
36. DL HughleySource:Brian Christian Photography 36 of 41
37. June Ambrose37 of 41
38. Ray J presenting Brandy38 of 41
39. LA Reid39 of 41
40. DJ Khaled40 of 41
41. K-Ci Hailey41 of 41
Ayanna Pressley Calls Out Democrats For Not Supporting Black Women Candidates was originally published on newsone.com