Women of Color Deserve a Voice in Politics

By Raziya Estes

The presidential election is an extremely important event that dictates the next four years for us as
Americans. Time after time, with the exception of president Barack Obama, the president of the United
States has been a white, straight, male. This is despite the fact that a lot of the target issues the president
needs to address involves people of color, women, and the LGBTQ+ community. I don’t see why we
continue to get the same persistent, yet unreliable individuals in charge of our country. Not to mention some
of the many daily challenges faced by Black women and women of color within our system, with our school
systems being a significant factor, including the issue of excessive suspension of Black students. According
to The Atlantic, “Girls of color are suspended at school at a disproportionately high rate…Black girls are
suspended at a rate of 12 percent more often than girls of any other race and more often than white boys.”
There are clearly stigmas and prejudices being made within these schools, which ultimately leads to a
negative educational experience for youth of color.

These issues further intensify the stigma, barriers, and lack of awareness women of color face when it
comes to gaining access to mental health services. As a result, women of color are at an increased risk of
mental health problems due to race/culture related experiences or expectations. According to the Psychiatric
Times, “White women are almost twice as likely (21.5%) as Asian (5.3%), Black (10.3%), and Hispanic
(9.2%) women to seek mental health care services. This stark disparity in utilization rates highlights that
women from racial minority groups face significant barriers in accessing mental health care.” This is why
having women of color running for office could aid in solving these challenges. Also, being a Black woman
myself, seeing someone, especially a woman that represents my racial identity, running for office feels
uplifting and motivational. Constantly being shown “Whiteness” as the center of power is discouraging.
Women of color have experiences that many of their white counterparts wouldn’t be able to comprehend.
These experiences should lead to solutions for our communities, such as equal access and respect instead of
pushing back against the promotion of a white agenda.

If you are a woman of color and want to get politically involved or organize political change, there are ways
to do so. For example, joining a non-profit organization or participating in protests, is a great way to initiate
political and social change. Even using social media as a way to get your voice out there is perfect for
exposure. This exposure is a great way to speak up about political topics that pertain to you, and provide a
platform for women of color. You might also try volunteering at political campaigns, and advocating for a

candidate whose views can truly align with yours. Women of color deserve more than a voice within
political spaces. We should also be leaders within our communities and for our country.

Raziya Estes is a tenth grader at Palisades HS. She likes philosophy and fashion, and aspires to be psychologist.