Hillary Clinton was officially confirmed as the Democratic presidential nominee yesterday in what was a historical day, as she is the first female nominee of a major US political party. While I am disappointed that Bernie Sanders didn’t get the nomination, I’m comforted by the fact that he has reinvigorated a movement that has yielded results during the primaries and I’m excited to see where the movement goes!
I don’t live in the US neither am I a US citizen but I followed the primaries zealously mainly because of Bernie Sanders. I wasn’t aware of him before the primaries but after listening to his speeches, I found myself connecting with his ideals, his policies, and vision for a fairer and more just America that works for all. He’s is the US version of Jeremy Corbyn. One of the best things about Bernie Sanders’ campaign was the presence of the three women listed below who I describe as ‘powerhouses’. Words can’t describe what their presence meant to me as a black Muslim woman but the best way to sum it up is, ‘representation matters’. All three women have a long-standing history of service and devotion to their communities prior to their involvement in the campaign, they are women of conviction and women who are inspiring the upcoming generation to be courageous and always speak truth to power.
Rosario Dawson – American Actress and Activist
Rosario Dawson is an American actress of Puerto Rican and Cuban ancestry, who is highly active in political, social and environmental causes. She has been involved with organizations, charities and campaigns such as the O.N.E. Campaign, Oxfam, Amnesty International and Voto Latino (which she founded). In addition, she is passionate about the need for more women of colour in office as well as getting more Latino youths to vote.
Fun fact: She has been doing voter registration for over 11 years!
Without a doubt, she is one of my favourite orators because of her impassioned and articulate delivery and don’t ask me how many times I’ve watched the speech below!
“It’s not just about getting out there to vote, it’s also about who you vote for. We need more women of colour in politics, because, otherwise, we’re not represented.” – Rosario Dawson
Linda Sarsour – Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York
Born and raised in Brooklyn like the Vermont senator, Linda Sarsour is a Palestinian Muslim American racial justice and civil rights activist. She is the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York and has been at the forefront of major civil rights campaigns including calling for an end to unwarranted surveillance of New York’s Muslim communities. The intersectionality of Linda Sarsour’s activism is inspiring and in wake of the police murder of Mike Brown, she co-founded Muslims for Ferguson to build solidarity amongst American Muslim communities and encourage work against police brutality.
She was an instrumental force in the Muslim Americans for Bernie Sanders campaign and it was awe-inspiring to watch her introduce Bernie Sanders at a couple of his rallies.
“As an American Muslim Woman, I need to dispel myths about my faith, tell my community’s stories and preach courage in the face of injustice.” – Linda Sarsour
Nina Turner – Former Ohio State Senator
Former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner was one of the most prominent Bernie Sanders supporter and surrogate during the campaign trail. Last November she switched her allegiance from Hillary Clinton’s camp to endorse Bernie Sanders, because of what she describes as a ‘heart-soul agreement‘ with the Senator’s policies and vision. She is an outspoken advocate of the disenfranchised and under-represented and has continually been devoted to the issues of education, employment and development of strong and safe communities.
She is currently a history professor at Cuyahoga Community College and a co-chair of the Ohio Taskforce on Community-Police Relations.
“I would always ask my grandmother what it would take to be successful in life, and she told me the story of the three bones. She said all you need are the bones: the wishbone, the jawbone, and the backbone. The wishbone would keep you hoping and praying because hope is the motivator, but the dream is the driver. The jawbone will give you courage to speak truth to power, lift your voice – it should matter that you’re in the room, that you’re in that space with that voice. But the most important bone? That’s the backbone, because it will give you courage to stand through all of your trials and tribulations, and in this life you’re going to go through some things but you can’t have a testimony without a test. I take my grandmother’s three bones everywhere I go.” – Nina Turner