Omaha native makes history in 2020 election

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Lillian Nero, Opinion Writer

According to the US Census, only 12.9 percent of Omaha’s population is Black while the national percentage only differs by 0.1 percent.  

“Across the board, the difference that I want to make is to make sure people like me have a voice.” said Precious McKesson, a member of the Nebraska Democratic Party.  

McKesson first became involved in politics four years ago, after working under State Senator, Justin Wayne. After that, she was recruited to be a member of Nebraska’s Democratic Party.  

McKesson was brought on as the Party’s Constituency Director and her main objective was to make sure underrepresented communities with low voter turnout had a seat at the table.  

For so many years, people of color have been the backbone of our political process. Our voice doesn’t just matter during election time, it matters year-round.” she said. 

When the 2020 Presidential Election was gearing up, McKesson looked into becoming the official elector of Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, which, if elected, would make her the first Black woman to do so.  

“I saw we [Democrats] only cast the vote one time and that was in 2008 for Obama and I was like ‘You know what, Imma go for this and see what happens’.” she said. 

In June of 2020, McKesson was elected by her peers to cast the Democratic vote for the election.  

“[At the time of the election] I didn’t realize how much significance and how much history would be behind it until all the attention that came with it,” she said.  

According to the US National Archives, a nominee must win at least 270 of the electoral college votes in order to be named President.  

Due to a slew of mail in-ballots due to COVID-19, many states weren’t able to count their votes on election night itself, so the election was put on “pause” until all votes were counted.  

“We knew it would come down to 269 and Nebraska would get the 270,” she said.  “We thought Nebraska would have a chance at being the deciding factor in the Presidential election if we [Democrats] did not get Georgia, Arizona or Michigan.” McKesson said. 

While casting that vote and waiting for the results, McKesson thought back on the COVID-19 edition of everything that led up to that moment.  

“It was historical, number one because it was something that we really strived to get.” she said.  

Due to COVID-19, McKesson had to adopt new ways of community engagement, as well as new ways to make sure traditional campaigning got done in a non-traditional way.  

“To be able to do everything virtually and socially distances and drive-up events and to win that blue dot, it meant a lot.” she said. 

According to CNN, on November 7, nominee Joe Biden won the US Election with 306 votes, making him the 46th President of the United States. 

Not only did Biden make history as the oldest President, but his Vice President etched her name in history books as well. 

California Senator Kamala Harris became the nation’s first Black, South Asian and woman Vice President, as well being a first generation American.  

“I am very inspired,” said McKesson, about Harris and her new status. “In four years, she went to a freshman Senator, to a lead Senator, and to Vice President. What she’s achieved in this amount of time is phenomenal.” she said.  

Women like McKesson, Harris, Rep. Stacy Abrams, Shirley Chisolm and many more have been brought to the spotlight as the country has seen more Black women in politically charged roles.   

According to Fox News, Abrams was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize due to her involvement with voter registration in her state of Georgia.  

“Stacey Abrams had an election stolen from her and what did she do? She came back and took the whole entire state.” said McKesson.  

With an influx of Black women being bought into the limelight, McKesson encourages young Black girls to get involved, even though it may not always been fun.  

“I’m not gonna sugarcoat ityou deal with a lot.” she said. “My passion sometimes comes off as anger and they wanna label me as an ‘angry Black woman’.”  she said 

Even between that, McKesson says Black women now have a seat at the table and are now elected officials.  

“Get involved,” she said. “The more people see your passion; they are more apt to be a part of it.” 

Her final words of wisdom, “There’s room for every young Black girl.”