African American women are a key voting bloc and 2020 contenders faced a demanding audience at the She the People Presidential Forum

Moments before the She the People event was set to begin in Houston, last week, Aimee Allison took a step toward the stage, and peeked out from behind the curtain. It was electric, she thought in that moment.

Nearly 2,000 women of color from across the American south had come out to hear from eight presidential candidates at a forum specifically for, in its first year, women of color. Eighteen months before, it had been a seedling of an idea. During the 2016 election, Allison planned to write a book about the power of female voters of color in the context of America’s first female president in 2016, Hillary Clinton. Instead, when Donald Trump who took office 20 January 2017 she realized there were lessons still to be learned by Democrats, namely around one of their key voting blocs: black female voters.

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