NATIONWIDE– Today, Glynda C. Carr President & CEO of Higher Heights, released the following statement in response to news that Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom selected Calif. Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s vacant Senate seat:
“Governor Newsom’s decision to elect Alex Padilla to the California State Senate seat unfortunately leaves us with one less woman and now not a single Black woman in the United States Senate, chipping away at decades of advocacy for the Senate to properly represent the communities that it serves. This is a reminder to all of us of the undertaking that lies ahead for women and Black women in achieving representation in decision-making that affects our lives.
“This decision is a clear setback to women’s representation in the Senate and will leave a consequential void in the upper chamber without a much-needed voice who can uniquely speak to the needs and issues that are most important to Black women across this country.
“Out of its 231-year history, there have only been two Black women Senators, now there will be none. Out of 100 senators, there are four who are Latino. After the presidential inauguration, only two of the 100 will be Black and neither are women. The debate over filling this seat has highlighted the leadership of women like Reps. Barbara Lee and Karen Bass, whose leadership and lived experiences as Black women belong in the Senate.
“While Padilla’s appointment is certainly an important step forward for California’s Latino community, it is a significant step back for women across the state and nation and an even further step back for Black women. With this appointment, Governor Newsom had the opportunity to select from a slate of extremely qualified women to fill this seat. Instead, he failed to appoint any of the qualified women candidates to the role including Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Congresswoman Karen Bass, both of whom have served the state of California with the highest integrity, and who would have been prepared to get to work on day one.
“Electing women to leadership is fundamental to ensuring that decision-making justly reflects the communities that it’s supposed to serve. Protecting, and advancing, women’s elected representation in policy decisions that affect them most is non-negotiable. Filling Kamala Harris’ seat with a man greatly curtails the ability for Black women’s voices and perspectives to be heard in our government.”
“Despite this disappointing decision, Higher Heights remains committed to fighting for Black women’s elected representation in the highest offices across our nation – including California. Today, we double down our work to ensure that Black women’s voices are heard and to elect Black women to the United States Senate.”