BLEXIT: Women of Color Abandon Pocahontas in Nevada After Being ‘Routinely Silenced’ by the Campaign
Five women of color have recently announced their departure from the Nevada campaign of Sen. Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren (D-MA), declaring that they were “routinely silenced” and only kept around for the purposes of tokenism.
“During the time I was employed with Nevada for Warren, there was definitely something wrong with the culture,” said Megan Lewis, a field organizer who joined the Warren campaign in May and left in December.
“I filed a complaint with HR, but the follow-up I received left me feeling as though I needed to make myself smaller or change who I was to fit into the office culture,” Lewis added.
“I felt like a problem — like I was there to literally bring color into the space but not the knowledge and voice that comes with it,” said an anonymous field organizer who recently left the campaign to Politico.
“We all were routinely silenced and not given a meaningful chance on the campaign. Complaints, comments, advice, and grievances were met with an earnest shake of the head and progressive buzzwords but not much else,” she added.
The other three black women who left the campaign would not comment publicly about their experiences, with one claiming she feared professional ramifications in a field that already makes it difficult for a female woman of color to get ahead.
The upcoming Nevada caucus takes place on Feb. 22 and is the third contest after Iowa and New Hampshire. These defections may deeply hurt the Warren campaign’s performance in the caucus because Nevada is the first contest where diversity will be a serious factor, after the largely white Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary are concluded.
Lewis hopes that by speaking out, she can help the campaign get in order and turn around their lack of momentum. Warren came in a distant third in the Iowa caucus, and she is not expected to do much better in the New Hampshire primary if the polling is any indicator.
“Every election will always be the most important election of our lifetimes,” Lewis said. “Organizing culture needs to change because the fact is our well-being is more important than any election. I hope this starts a conversation that helps facilitate personal reflection about ways we can change campaign culture.”
However, the campaign does not seem willing to take accountability for their actions. They are denying that they have any problems when it comes to putting minorities into leadership position.
“We strive for an inclusive environment and work hard to learn and improve,” Warren campaign spokesperson Kristen Orthman said in a statement.
“We have an organization of more than a thousand people, and whenever we hear concerns, we take them seriously. It’s important that everyone who is part of our team has a voice and can be heard. That’s why we are proud that we have a unionized staff and clear processes for issues to be addressed,” she added.
But according to the black women of color, those issues are not being addressed, and this is more bad news for a Warren campaign that has been stagnant for months.