Just three months after white supremacists took to the streets of Charlottesville, diverse candidates fought back and made historic gains at the polls. And it will come as no surprise to you—but of course, it’s women-led. For months, women have been leading the resistance against the Trump Administration’s assault on civil rights, our values, and our democracy. We march, we rally, and we flood the phone lines of Congress (86 percent of the calls to Congress in this new era are made by women!). It doesn’t stop there though. Women have also been running for elected office in historic numbers, and it resulted in a triumphant night of firsts last night.
In Virginia, 53 women—a record 43 Democratic women, nine Republican women, one independent—ran for the House of Delegates. And these women made history. As of Wednesday morning, of the 14 Virginia House of Delegate seats that Democrats flipped, 10 of those were won by women, including many historic victories by women of color. Virginia elected to its state House the first-ever Asian American female and the first two Latina women And to put the icing on the cake, Virginia also elected Danica Roem, the first ever openly transgender person to serve in the Virginia state legislature. Did I also mention that she’s replacing the conservative lawmaker who introduced a bill preventing transgender students from using the bathroom of their choice? Poetic justice has never tasted so sweet.
Virginia isn’t alone. Last night, women—particularly women of color—roared back big time across the country. In New Jersey, Sheila Oliver won election as Lieutenant Governor, the first ever black women to hold that seat. This is after a record 79 women ran for the state legislature in New Jersey, including 48 Democrats and 31 Republican. Women of color are also winning at the local level. In Charlotte, North Carolina, Framingham, Massachusetts, and Milledgeville, Georgia, Black women won mayoral races—a first for those cities.
LGBTQ women also made history. In addition to Danica Roem’s victory in Virginia, transgender women won seats on city councils in Palm Springs, California, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Meanwhile, Seattle elected Jenny Durkan as its mayor, the first lesbian to serve as Seattle’s mayor.
Making history feels good. No, not just good. It feels great. We’ll say it again: women are strong as hell.