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To: Senator Elect Doug Jones
An Open Letter to Doug Jones
Congratulations on your Senate victory. We are thrilled to have someone representing our state whose campaign was about issues that Alabamians need: funding CHIP, access to healthcare, and jobs that pay living wages. We are equally thrilled that the people of Alabama chose a politics of respect and decency over a politics of dehumanization. But we know that our work is just beginning.
It was amazing symbolism that the returns from Selma put you in the lead. Selma: the very place where heroic men and women’s courage to stand against the brutality of racism gave us the Voting Rights Act, ensuring the right of African Americans to vote, is the same place that put you over the top, in large part because of amazing African American turnout (particularly African American women) all across this state.
You have a strong track record of standing for Civil Rights; however, none of us can assume to know what a community needs if we have not lived their experience. Far too often, the Democratic party has taken the black vote for granted and only shown up in communities like the black belt, West Birmingham, and urban Mobile to court votes. And as we’ve seen recently, far too many men in positions of power from both political parties have at best not listened to the voices of women and at worst harassed and abused them. We believe your election not only gives us a chance to turn the page on the destructive politics represented by Roy Moore, but also an opportunity to hear the voices of all Alabamians.
To that end, we call upon you to spend the next few weeks before you take office holding listening sessions in African American and low-income communities across our state. We hope you will be a regular presence in our inner cities, in the black belt, and in low income white communities as well – places like Sand Mountain, Wedowee, and others. We challenge you to hold at least three listening sessions before you take office and to regularly visit these communities when the Senate is on a break. In addition, we hope that you will build a staff that represents the diversity of your coalition with strong African American and women leaders.
Why is this important?
Please know that just as we campaigned for you, we want to work with you to ensure that the voices of all Alabamians, particularly those who have historically been marginalized, are represented during your tenure in the Senate.
Again, congratulations on a very hopeful victory. Let’s continue working together to take the next step to uplift all Alabamians.