How a Brooklyn Sisterhood of Black Women Became National Power Brokers

“Everybody wants the Black vote,” Ms. Henderson-Rivers said, “but they still aren’t open to listening to the people who are best at messaging the Black community.”

Over the years, the women’s personal relationships, shared disappointments, struggles and triumphs have created a camaraderie that has carried over to the professional. And with a Black woman soon to be vice president, the mood feels different from other achievements, even when a Black man was in the White House.

“This moment is not lost on us who have been fighting for a seat at the table,” said Juanita Scarlett, a partner at the lobbying firm Bolton-St. Johns and a press secretary for Eliot Spitzer when he was state attorney general. “When our group started, our goal was to make sure we had more voices at the table, and now it’s happening.”

This summer, Ms. Harris chose Karine Jean-Pierre, a Haitian-American woman who had been a senior adviser to Mr. Biden, as her chief of staff. Now Ms. Jean-Pierre is on the shortlist to be the first Black woman to serve as White House press secretary, as is Symone Sanders, another senior Biden adviser. On Monday, Mr. Biden picked Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who is Black, as the ambassador to the United Nations. With the position being restored to cabinet-level status, she would serve on the National Security Council.

When Black women are in visible positions of power, it sends a strong signal, Ms. Henderson-Rivers said. While some in the sisterhood say they are hearing from the Biden administration, many are being recruited by candidates in New York City’s 2021 mayoral race. Lupé Todd-Medina is the spokeswoman for Raymond J. McGuire, a former Wall Street executive and mayoral candidate who is Black; Ms. Henderson-Rivers is a senior adviser for the campaign.

During the last mayoral election cycle, the women said they received calls from second-tier candidates or only after white consultants had turned a candidate down. Ms. Henderson-Rivers’s firm began getting calls months earlier than past election cycles, she said, adding that she had recently invested in more office space.

“It’s the first time I’ve been this busy this far out, and I think it’s because the worth of Black women is finally being recognized,” she said.

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