We Belong Here PAC exists to support female leadership in politics while engaging and turning out our base voters, Black women.
We Belong Here was started with two goals in mind:
An accessible environment where Black women can share their stories with people who have been there and understand the challenges they face. An environment where we focus on self-care, we acknowledge the stress that comes with our day-to-day challenges and we address it. Women should come and feel comfort, feel supported, feel empowered, feel rejuvenated.
So many candidates and issues rely on the Black female vote. We envision an organization where we bring those who may not otherwise engage in the political system, into the fold so that they are educated on the issues and understand the importance of their vote. We want Black women to fully realize their potential if they would like to run for office or get more involved – there should be an easy way for them to do so without having to attend just the right school, or be from the right neighborhood, or know the right people.
We have heard Black women talking about how we are discounted at work. How our ideas are not taken seriously. Assumptions are made that prevent us from getting opportunities for advancement. Women in general get ignored—add a racial lens to that and it is even harder. It’s about basic human rights not being upheld.
When Emilia became Minority Leader of the Ohio House of Representatives, she felt this even more acutely. Having to work harder and more perfectly than others before her. Being discounted as Leader when no one else in that position would be. Being mistaken for a legislative aide in meetings. Then, one day when trying to get into the Statehouse – trying to simply get to work – Rep. Sykes was held up by security, questioned and searched because she “didn’t look like a legislator.”
After being stopped getting into her own building that she had been working at for several years, she began sharing her story as an example of the unique challenges that black women face, which prompted others to share their stories. We found the comfort of their shared experiences to be powerful. We also found what many others have found – when we share these stories we are often demonized or written off as complainers. Instead of having our concerns of injustice taken seriously we are, once again, discounted and overlooked.