Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks during a rally at Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi on March 8.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks during a rally at Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi on March 8.


Washington – More than 200 black women on Friday signed an open letter to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden urging him to pick a black woman as his running mate.

Biden has said he will choose a woman to be his vice presidential nominee, and has named several black women in conversations about who he may pick to be on the ticket.

The letter, signed by black women working in both the public and private sectors, lists several potential candidates: former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, California Rep. Karen Bass, Florida Rep. Val Demings, Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and former national security adviser Susan Rice.

The letter reads, “we urge you to seize this historic opportunity to choose a Black woman running mate who will fight for the issues that matter most to the American people and help deliver a decisive victory and a successful Biden presidency.”

It says the women listed “have the experience, qualifications and principled core values of a true leader that would make for the right partner to help catapult the Democrats to victory in November.”

The letter is the latest sign of the public pressure Biden and his campaign are facing to select a woman of color to be on the Democratic ticket in November.

Signers include actors Vanessa Williams, Latanya Richardson Jackson and Pauletta Washington, the former chairman and president of the US Tennis Association, Katrina Adams, the former editor-in-chief of Essence magazine, Susan Taylor, and the first female African American president of Spelman College, Johnnetta Cole.

Abrams, who has said she would be honored to accept the position and that she would make an “excellent running mate,” told ABC’s “The View” this week that “we need a ticket that reflects the diversity of America.”

Abrams said, “women of color, particularly black women, are the strongest part of the Democratic Party, the most loyal, but that loyalty isn’t simply how we vote, it’s how we work, and if we want to signal that that work will continue, that we’re going to reach not just to certain segments of our community, but to the entire country, then we need a ticket that reflects the diversity of America.”

South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, an influential congressman and the third highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, has also said he favors Biden picking a black woman. Clyburn’s endorsement launched Biden to a decisive victory in South Carolina’s critical contest, which revived his campaign and put Biden on the path to win the Democratic nomination.

“I’m not telling anybody that that’s anything that I think must be. I just think that’s what I favor,” said Clyburn, who hasn’t directly counseled the former vice president about his pick.

Civil rights icon and Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who is among the most revered African American members of Congress, has urged Biden to select a woman who is reflective of the country.

“It would be good to have a woman of color. It would be good to have a woman,” Lewis said. “It would be good to have a woman look like the rest of America — smart, gifted, a fighter, a warrior. And we have plenty of able women, some of black, white, Latino, Asian American, Native American. I think the time has long past of making the White House look like the whole of America.”

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan have also all been mentioned in conversations by the former vice president as potential candidates.

Biden said earlier this month that he expects the group that will vet the potential candidates for vice president will be formed by May 1 and that the list of contenders will be narrowed down sometime in July.

Only two women have been vice presidential nominees for a major party in the US: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in 2008 and former New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro in 1984.

As reported by CNN