It’s humbling to be celebrating Black History Month with the first Black and first woman Vice President in the White House and we are hopeful for true change to occur with racial justice and equity a defining principle of the new Administration. This month is a chance for NOW to honor the Black experience – its triumphs and its challenges. 

Now more than ever, we need to bring Black experiences to the forefront of the national conversation and recognize that Black history is American history. We need to uplift the critical work of Black activists who are tackling issues from police reform to voter suppression, to the disproportionate impact this pandemic has had on the Black community. NOW continues to prioritize racial justice as one of our core issues as we work with our allies in the fight against racism, also recognizing the double burden of race and sex discrimination has on Black women especially.  

On that note, I want to lift up some of the Black women who have made an impact on life in the African diaspora, activists who don’t always get the recognition they deserve. For example, Dr. Pauli Murray, is well known to us as a NOW co-founder who first asked why there wasn’t a civil rights organization for women. She was also one of the most distinguished American women of her time as an author, poet, civil rights leader, advisor to presidents, a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt (whom she counseled about racism and poverty) and the legal theorist behind Brown v. Board of Education.   

Here’s a video from Democracy NOW! about the new documentary “My Name is Pauli Murray,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2021 this week.   

NOW will share on social media this month the stories of other Black women we admire, including Anna Julia Cooper, Demita Frazier, Amelia Boynton Robinson, Jane Bolin, Lorna Simpson, Alice Walker, Vanessa Nakate and Dorothy Jean Tillman.  Who are your “sheroes”? 

Speaking of inspiration, I was honored to be part of the first of our Listening Sessions on “100 Days of a Feminist Agenda,” which NOW is convening in partnership with Black Women’s Blueprint.  If you missed last week’s session on “323 Days of COVID:  The Lasting Impact on Women,” here’s a link on YouTube.   

And here’s how to register for the next session, on February 11: “The Unspoken Impact of Police Brutality against BIWOC, TGNC & Latinx Communities.” We had a great turnout for the first session, and I hope you’ll join this exciting conversation.  We’re doing what NOW does best—create a new space for community activism and policy-driven solutions.