WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Joyce Elliott, an Arkansas state senator who is seeking a U.S. congressional seat in November, was the second Black student to attend her local public high school; the first was her older sister. If elected in November, she will be the first Black lawmaker in Congress from Arkansas, ever.
On the campaign trail in June, Elliott attended a demonstration against racism in White County, which is more than 90% white, and spoke to attendees in the shadow of a Confederate monument.
The November election is a “chance to change our history,” she told Reuters afterward. “I really decided I needed to run because I could see a pathway to winning.”
As the United States grapples with a deadly coronavirus pandemic that has disproportionately sickened and killed Black Americans and recent upheaval over police brutality, a record number of Black women are running for Congress.
Elliott is one of at least 122 Black or multi-racial Black women who filed to run for congressional seats in this year’s election; this figure has increased steadily since 2012, when it was 48, according to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP).
As primary season draws to a close, nearly 60 Black women are still in the running, according to Collective PAC.
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