‘The Walking Dead’s’ Danai Gurira: Why ‘Women Must Run’ for Office in Trump Era (Guest Column)

Danai Gurira Political Essay Women in
CQ Roll Call via AP Images

I want to thank our new president. I thank him for making it painfully clear that anyone can get into government. It should boost our confidence that there truly are no barriers to entry.

And so, in light of that, I have one thing to say about the coming years: Women. Must. Run. We must work with every fiber we possess to put women in government, to assure that our voices and choices are not stripped away and ignored. We cannot just march; we must organize, and we must run.

JAKE CHESSUM for Variety

When President Obama was elected, we saw a clear response from those who opposed the country’s presidential choice; the Tea Party formed, and within two years it had flooded the branches of government. If we do not see this as a moment where we must galvanize and do exactly the same, we may just deserve what we get.

The power of the March on Washington in 1963 could not have been imagined at the time. It broke every precedent and put the fight for civil rights front and center. There were fewer chances, back then, to run for office if you fit into the category of “other” — fewer ways to be heard. But in 2017, with a black president finishing an eight-year term, we are in a different time; we must take on a more intricate strategy in our response to a new government that seems unabashed in its exclusion of the voices of women and other “others.”

“We are on the right side of history.”
Danai Gurira

We can run for office and we can win — this has been proved time and time again. So we do not lament. We run. We don’t commiserate. We run. We don’t express fear and trepidation about the coming years. We run. We stand on the shoulders of the giants who paved the way. We are not back to zero. We are at the moment when we prove that we were built for such a time as this. We are at the moment when, to break through as women, as “others,” and as those who desire to progress, we must strategize to bring about a new government — a time when we show young girls that their voices do matter by making sure that our voices are in the rooms that matter.

Politics, believe it or not, is where I feel breakthrough is most feasible, where certain ceilings are yet to be broken. We recognize this moment as one in which we can exact the type of change we have yet to see. We are on the right side of history. We have nothing to apologize for; we voted for equality, tolerance, and lower taxes for the middle class. Now is the time to stand up and get to work. There are two branches of government up for grabs in two years. Like the great heroes and heroines of the Civil Rights era taught us, let’s keep our eyes firmly on the prize. Women, don’t just march — run!