Charlotte Golar Richie is asking her supporters to bring 10 people with them to the polls on Tuesday for the preliminary election. And given the palpable energy emanating from the 200 people packed into the Bell in Hand Tavern on Wednesday night, that goal seemed attainable.
The candidate took the stage to Chaka Khan’s legendary “I’m Every Woman.” And it was “every woman” who introduced her: the out-of-work teacher, the activist, and a roster of glass-ceiling smashers, including Sarah-Ann Shaw, the first African-American woman to appear as a Boston television reporter; Colette Phillips, one of the city’s first black female public relations executives; and Evelyn Murphy, the first woman in Massachusetts to hold a constitutional office.
“I know what it takes to break barriers in Massachusetts,” said Murphy, who was elected lieutenant governor in 1986. “She’s got the skills. She’s got the qualifications. She has the right values. I want you to find 10 more votes for Charlotte. She can’t do it without us. We have to carry her on our backs. Do not sleep at night!”
The two-hour fund-raiser and get-out-the-vote event looked to the future while honoring the living legends whose achievements paved the way for an African-American woman to run for mayor.
As Golar Richie looked out at a room filled with multiracial, multigenerational men and women, all standing shoulder to shoulder, she said her goal is to unify the city, and she assured the crowd that she is a pragmatic idealist committed to getting the job done.
But since this was billed as a “Women for Charlotte” event, she took a minute to have a sister moment and talked to the women in the room:
“Let’s just think about the issues that women tend to care about. We care about issues that the guys care about as well.
“We want to have good jobs and opportunity, don’t we? And there are many of us who are raising families solo, so we need to have those resources. Not only are we taking care of our children, but we’re also taking care of our parents, and we’re taking care, sometimes, of our grandchildren.
“We need good housing, safe decent housing. That’s not a mystery to us.
“We need to address the issue of poverty because we know that women with families are now the face of poverty, not just the single man living under the Southeast Expressway.
“We need to have access to quality schools because we know as mothers, we know as grandmothers, we know that education is the key to a better, positive, more prosperous future.
“Am I resonating with you?”
“Woos!” and “Yeahs!” were shouted in response. And if that wasn’t confirmation enough that her message resonated, the women scooping up signs, fliers, and leaflets on the way out seemed to offer further proof.
Akilah Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.