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In the coming weeks, as we lead up to Reproductive Justice Week of Action and Election Day, we want to honor our foremothers and Black women today, who are transforming our world right before our eyes. Each of these Black women’s dedication to advancing civil and voting rights has made it possible for us to say: I AM A VOTER!

A’shanti F. Gholer: Political Activist

A'shanti Gholer

A’shanti F. Gholar serves as the president of Emerge, the only organization dedicated to recruiting and training Democratic women to run for office. In this role, she leads the organization and steers its overall strategy and direction, overseeing a national staff as well as affiliates across the country.

A’shanti is a nationally recognized political strategist, grassroots organizer, and activist for women, communities of color and progressive causes. A’shanti serves as an Advisory Board Member for Global GAIN, an Expert Advisor for Forward Majority Action, and as a Sisters on the Planet Ambassador for OxFam America. She is also the founder of The Brown Girls Guide to Politics, which was named one of the top podcasts to prepare people for the 2020 election by Marie Claire.

Rosa Parks: Civil Rights Movement Leader

Rosa Parks

Called “the mother of the civil rights movement,” Rosa Parks invigorated the struggle for racial equality when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama. Parks’ arrest on December 1, 1955, launched the Montgomery Bus Boycott. A Supreme Court ruling and declining revenues forced the city to desegregate its buses thirteen months later.

In the wake of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Parks lost her tailoring job and received death threats. She and her family moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1957. However, she remained an active member of the NAACP and worked for Congressman John Conyers (1965-1988) helping the homeless find housing. The Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute Of Self-Development was established in 1987 to offer job training for black youth. In 1999, Parks received the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, the highest honor a civilian can receive in the United States. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) also sponsors an annual Rosa Parks Freedom Award. (

Representative Jahanna Hayes: Congresswoman & Educator 

Rep. Jahanna Hayes

Jahana Hayes is the U.S. Representative for the Fifth Congressional District of Connecticut. Representative Hayes was elected to the United States House of Representatives in November 2018, making her the first African-American woman and the first African-American Democrat to ever represent the state of Connecticut in Congress.

Congresswoman Hayes’ story is one of achievement despite the odds and overcoming the obstacles that life can place before you. She has been quoted as saying that “education saved her life” and is a fierce advocate for ensuring that equitable access to educational opportunities exists for all students and families.

Zerlina Maxwell: Author & Political Analyst

Zerlina Maxwell

Zerlina Maxwell is an American cable television host, political analyst, commentator, speaker, and writer. She writes and speaks about culture, gender inequity, sexual consent, racism, and similar topics. She is a survivor of sexual assault and describes herself as a survivor activist.

Fannie Lou Hamer: Civil Rights Activist

I am a voter: "They talked about how it was our right as human beings to register to vote. I never knew we could vote before. Nobody ever told us." —Fannie Lou Hamer

We honor our foremother, Fannie Lou Hamer, who rose from racism and even forced sterilization to become one of the most critical and influential voices of the civil and voting rights movements and a leader in the efforts for greater economic opportunities for Black people.

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