Reflections on Women's Political Leadership this Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, as the Texas State Director for IGNITE, I am taking the opportunity to reflect on the critical need to encourage more women of color, especially African American women and Latina women to become political leaders.

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The time is now: Get ready to run!

In the aftermath of the women’s marches and in response to the ongoing community organizing that we are seeing across the county,  I keep getting asked the same question: How do I channel my energy and take a stand for what I believe in right now?

At IGNITE we believe the answer is clear: Own your political power and run for office! I really don’t care what office you run for. School President, Student Senate, Community College Board, City Council are all places where you can exercise political leadership, make a difference in your community and show other girls and women that they can be leaders too. Running for office is not as hard as you think. Here’s how: 

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Rules Matter

Rules matter. Donald Trump won 2.5 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, but will be inaugurated because he won the Electoral College — the rule we employ in the US to elect our Presidents. You can argue that we should change that rule, eradicate the Electoral College, or revise the penalties imposed on electors who choose to buck the system, and I might agree with you. But until we do, the rule stands. This is how we ensure a peaceful transition of power in a functioning democracy: we all play by the same rules.

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Let’s be honest

The day after the election one of our most loyal supporters wrote me this: “I swore I’d never give another dollar to either politics or philanthropy. I’ve been so cynical that both have just become big business with no higher moral authority than our worst of corporate America. I’ll get over it, but how could every pollster get it so wrong — other than to create a new reason to start giving millions, if not billions, to keep them in business.” I could not honestly refute her. 

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Post Election Mobilization for Next Gen Political Leadership

Following the election, IGNITE has heard from hundreds of young women arounds of country who are standing in their political power. At the same time, adult women are contacting us to ask how they can become a part of the IGNITE community and mobilize with young women. 

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EILEEN FISHER & IGNITE

What a powerful evening! Elected women from across the country shared their personal leadership experiences, in an effort to engage and inspire the next generation of women to step up and own their fair share of political power.

The issue of women and political leadership has never been so heightened. Regardless of which candidates you are supporting this year, it is clear that we need to encourage the next generation of women to raise their voices, participate in the process, and ultimately step into political leadership.

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How much inspiration do we need?

The balloons are popped, the pundits have weighed in, and Hillary Clinton is the first woman to be nominated for President by a major political party. Regardless of your party affiliation, it was hard to come away from last week’s Democratic National Convention without a sense that history was made: a woman has finally pushed through those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling. It’s an extraordinary accomplishment, and one that should have the capacity to change the trajectory for gender parity in political leadership across the United States. But will it? 

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Witness the 2016 conventions through the eyes of two politically ambitious young women.

Two accomplished, civic-minded and politically ambitious young women from different sides of the aisle have come together as IGNITE Ambassadors over a shared goal - inspiring more young women to pursue elected office. On behalf of IGNITE National these young women will be attending the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in the coming weeks.

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Oh What a Night!

IGNITE’s first ever Girls Rock! event was a huge success thanks to support of our title sponsor AT&T, lead sponsor Norma Stone, our state council, the host committee and additional generous sponsors. Special shout out to our chapter at Ursuline Academy and students Maria Anderson, Laura Arroyo and Celeste Yost for spearheading the planning efforts. 

On June 11th, we shared the mission of IGNITE and the movement we’re building with over 200 people at the Perot Museum. 

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#DeclareYourAmbition

What an amazing day at the White House United #StateofWomen Summit! Twelve hours of inspirational leaders across every single sector - government, business, media, military, and more. The IGNITE team and I were so lucky to have joined thousands of activists from across the country to hear President Obama, VP Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet, and Amy Poehler, founder of IGNITE partner @SmartGirls, and more at this watershed event! I'm still reeling from the sheer volume of information and thoughtful conversations, but here are three big takeaways I left with.

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