If an Arkansas state senator, Joyce Elliott seeking a U.S. congressional seat is 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.”
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).
Black women are nearly 8% of the U.S. population, but 4.3% of Congress, according to a report by the Center of Women and Politics and Higher Heights for America, a political action committee that seeks to elect more progressive Black women to elected office.