This is part two of a three-part series on the rise of women of color in the Virginia state legislature. Click here to read part one.
Over my first year in Virginia politics, I kept hearing about the badass women of color that are leading here in Virginia. When days were dark, tuning into a few floor speeches at the state Capitol from some of these phenomenal women let me know that Virginia has a glimmer of hope for progressive change. And then guess what? The primaries happened and blessed us with a few more badass women of color running for office! #Blessed
Here is the second half of the rundown of all of the ? progressive women of color running for the House of Delegates that I stan this election. Check out the first half of the women of color running for the house here. Research their platforms, fall in love, and then pledge to vote here. Have I led you wrong so far?
1. Delegate Hala Ayala (House District 51)
These women have been ballin’ for so long, it makes you wonder why it took them so long to run for office in the first place? Take Delegate Ayala for example. She was a cybersecurity expert, local National Organization of Women president, and single parent at the same damn time. Our girl has championed healthcare for all Virginia families because it’s personal to her. When her son needed urgent medical care, Hala’s job at the time did not offer insurance. Thankfully he qualified for Medicaid and was able to receive the care that he needs. Talk about a #WCW !
2. Trudy Berry (House District 61)
Yet another example that our bench is stacked with talent. As a former member of the US Air Force and Department Of Defense contractor, we have yet another Superwoman on our hands. After her grandparents survived a Japanese internment camp, Berry is second-generation military with her father and one of her sons serving as well, fighting for our country. Now, she is running for Delegate to serve once more. The dedication is stunning. P.S. she is wearing a Katniss pin from the Hunger Games. This makes my inner nerd squee with joy ?
3. Delegate Lashrecse Aird (House District 63)
Women are not only opening doors and breaking ceilings, but knocking down entire houses! At the age of 29, Delegate Aird was the youngest woman ever to be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. Our girl stays shining by being a leader on several boards and committees. Even though she is young, this doesn’t stop her from introducing multiple pieces of legislation that benefit the folks in her district such as fighting for driver privileges, making Election Day a state holiday, and legislating against unlawful housing discrimination practices. Even though they were not successful, our girl keeps fighting the good fight. Talk about black girl magic!
4. Sheila Bynum-Coleman (House District 66)
When you want something done right, let a woman handle it! Ms. Bynum-Coleman’s story is one of my favorites from the campaign trail this year. She decided to meet with her delegate to discuss her improvements to the state’s curriculum for children with learning disabilities. After refusing to even meet with her, she decided to run against him. Even though she lost, her tenacity did not allow her to give up. Now she has an even bigger opponent in House Speaker Kirk Cox. That’s the type of guts I like to see in my elected officials. This mother of five is taking on the Speaker of the House y’all ?. I can’t wait for her to show Speaker Cox what time it is on election night.
5. Delegate Delores McQuinn (House District 70)
When I was a little girl, one of my very first lessons was that women are the lifeblood of the black church. Delegate McQuinn is the perfect example of this as both an associate minister and a longstanding Delegate. What stands out to me in her record is her never-ending fight to preserve Virginia’s black history. In fact, she was the lead organizer of an event at the Lumpkin’s Slave Jail marking the 400th anniversary of slavery in Virginia. We are all #blessed to have her serving in the House!
6. Delegate Jeion Ward (House District 92)
You’ve got to admire a woman who has been serving in Virginia’s House of Delegates for 15 years. That’s year after year of conservative rhetoric, shenanigans, and racist legislation. You have no choice but to admire Delegate Ward for keeping up the fight for this long. She has worked her way up from being an assistant teacher to being president of her local American Federation of Teachers chapter, in addition to being a Delegate. Now, she’s poised to become chair of the powerful Commerce and Labor Committee if we win the House. Whew! This sister deserves all the good energy. Let’s make all her time and hard work worth it this fall by FINALLY flipping the House!
7. Delegate Marcia Price (House District 95)
Remember earlier when I said that watching floor speeches are therapeutic? Well, I was thinking about Delegate Marcia Price when I wrote that. To hear her elocute is like hearing Jay Z freestyle in his prime. It’s powerful, truthful, and makes you want to take action. Her speeches are mesmerizing. She’s been a champion for reproductive rights, Virginians with student loan debt, police accountability, and gun violence prevention. Plus she is a one-woman powerhouse. Every event, she’s there. Every coalition, she’s a member. How she does it? No idea, but her hustle is the truth. Team Price forever.
Stay tuned next month for part three of this blog. Want to see if you live in the district of any of these fantastic women? Check out our Progressive Voter Guide to find out if you have any badass women of color running in your area and don’t forget to vote on November 5th!
In the meantime, check out more from Progress Virginia: