Posted on December 12, 2018

‘Do Black Lives Only Matter in Election Years?’ Ayanna Pressley Gives Democratic Donors the Talk They Need

Anne Branigin, The Root, December 12, 2018

The question for many newly-elected politicians is whether they can keep the same energy they had on the campaign trail once their names are written on the office door. With Massachusetts Congresswoman-elect Ayanna Pressley, it appears that concern can be laid to rest.

As BuzzFeed News reports, Pressley gave Democratic Party donors a stern — and much needed — lecture about their priorities in a private meeting on Tuesday.


From what BuzzFeed reports, it appears Pressley spoke to donors at the Democratic National Committee fundraising meeting much the same way she talked about the Democratic party on the campaign trail, at one point asking the room, “Do black lives only matter in election years when our votes are at stake?”


“Now we must push ourselves to ask the tough questions about whether or not we provided them with the institutional support so we can break through more glass and concrete ceilings as rapidly as possible,” she added.


Pressley, for good measure, told the audience that she didn’t intend to make anyone uncomfortable, but she didn’t not come to make anyone uncomfortable, either.

“I’m okay with doing that in the name and in pursuit of progress,” she continued. “Those young people are demanding and expecting more from me. And I owe it to them. I ran to fight for the ignored, the left out, and the left behind. And that is not only true for the electorate. Together we’ll do that work beginning with our own party.”

Pressley also emphasized that what she saw in her historic victory — in which she unseated 10-term Democratic incumbent Mark Capuano — was a “mandate for hope.” Still, “we” — the Democrats — “do need a checkup.”

This echoes comments Pressley told The Root in September, when she emphasized that Democrats needed to take responsibility for policies that propelled and entrenched inequality in districts like the Massachusetts 7th, which Pressley now represents.