Don’t get me wrong: Defeating Trump ultimately took a herculean effort by women as well as men coming together from various communities to form a coalition that I view as the best of America. But think back to when Trump was inaugurated on January 20, 2017. It was a day filled with pain and apprehension for millions. Trump’s inaugural address
offered little comfort, instead offering a jarring promise to end “American carnage.”
But when the sun came up the next day, the streets of America were soon filled with more than one million people taking part in the Women’s March
in cities from Washington DC to Los Angeles and countless places in between. This march, organized by women, featured women of all ages — along with male allies — taking to the streets wearing their famous pink hats and bearing signs
opposing Trump from, “My body, my choice” to “Resist, Organize, Onward.”
That march lifted the spirts of not only those who attended, but the millions more Trump opponents who watched on television. This massive street action that spanned from sea to shining sea told us two things: We were not alone and that we would not be silent in the face of Trump — but rather would stand up to him every step of the way.
We saw an example of that just a few days later when Trump signed an executive order — referred to as the “Muslim ban”
— that prohibited immigrants from seven Muslim majority countries from entering the country for 90 days, partially fulfilling his bigoted campaign promise of a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the country
“until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
In response, and perhaps inspired by the template of the Women’s March, people took to the streets and airports to protest this executive order
as Trump began turning his hate-filled campaign rhetoric into American policy.
From there women didn’t just march, they ran for office
in record numbers for Congress come the 2018 midterm election, primarily as Democrats opposing Trump. And not only did a record number of women win
seats in Congress that year, many were from the very communities Trump demonized during his campaign such as the first two Muslim American women ever elected to Congress, Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan).
It was also women who led the Democrats
to taking control of the House in that 2018 election, with 59% of women voting Democratic to 40% voting Republican. That 19% gap was a record for a midterm election and nearly doubled the percentage of women who voted Democratic in the 2016 election.
This year, women made up a higher percentage of the electorate than men and supported now President-elect Joe Biden
and Harris in big numbers. On the national level, exit polls
found the Biden/Harris ticket won the vote of female voters by 13 points — matching Hillary Clinton’s margin in 2016 — but Biden/Harris received more support than Clinton in some key battleground states
in the Midwest. That may have made the difference in those places that decided this election.
All of this laid the groundwork for Vice President-elect Harris’ victory and in turn her remarkable words Saturday night in her victory address. She spoke of Biden
having “the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exists in our country and select a woman as his vice president.” She spoke of the struggle of women who came before her, especially Black women, saying, “Tonight, I reflect on their struggle, their determination and the strength of their vision … I stand on their shoulders.”
And Harris powerfully declared, “while I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last,” adding the moving line, “Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
This has been a long time coming. This year marked the 100th anniversary of the constitutional amendment guaranteeing that women have a right to vote
. And now for the first time in our nation’s history, we will have a female vice president.
Harris’ elevation to vice president is the manifestation of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr’s famed words, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” In this case, it’s justice when it comes to gender equality. And the next step is the election of a woman as President of the United States. When that happens, it will again be due to the tireless and awe-inspiring efforts of our nation’s women.