Female candidates of color try to break barriers

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer reports on how the pandemic and racial reckoning have driven a surge of female candidates of color seeking office at the local, state and national level.
6:01 | 06/09/21

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Transcript for Female candidates of color try to break barriers
Today in Virginia Democrats headed to the polls to select their nominee for governor to black women were in the field they're part of a wave of aspiring female barrier breakers on the campaign trail this summer. From Seattle to rally to Boston where for the first time in 199. Years somewhat someone other than a white man is now in charge. Here's our Devin Dwyer. As an incredible incredible time in our city's history. In our country's history. Kim Cheney is the acting mayor of Boston in Slater of the nearly two centuries succession of white Irish or Italian American men clean the city where the American revolution began. Women have always led I think what is new is that women are being recognized. For their leadership black women have always had to make a way out of no way. That is just what we do it is what is in our DNA you feel pressure to deliver because you're this you're the first certainly. Being the first you want to create more opportunity for others. In March Cheney became the first by default after former mayor Marty Walsh joined the Biden cabinet. Now she's one of the historic field of six candidates of color fine for full term as mayor. This fall many people ask is this what you. Always dreamt of doing time did you always want to being there and you know I didn't see that for myself because I didn't see it and anyone else. The drive to be seen in positions of political power has galvanized women of color candidates nationwide. Already this year capturing the vice presidency at a record 49 seats in congress. It's not just counting being is not just about demographics. Still does demographics. Aligned related experiences and respect fish. Changed the literal conversations. In the eighties in our political stage is. Sites are now set on big city mayors ships governorships in senate seats where no woman of color his serve before. Why are these first still happening more than a hundred years after women got the right to vote. I see is he should have real artists of our political institutions which were Biddle. Literally in ways excluded women and even more so excluded excluded we do not color. When I ran people said. There's no way at Boston doesn't elect women often doesn't alike young people. Asian Americans Michelle Wu the first Asian American elected to Boston City Council says she felt empower. In some ways I had to learn from scratch. Just how much government matters. In the daily barriers at my family was facing and how much politics shapes. Every bit of the systems that we are all struggling with the. For fellow city councilor and drain Campbell it's systemic inequality. Especially in the criminal justice system were her twin brother Andre died in police custody at 29. The painful murder we all witnessed of George Floyd and I often say I didn't need to witness that as a black woman has a mother of two black boys. To know that we had work to do here in the city of Boston the beautiful thing I think in this moment in time is that there are folks are becoming more conscious. That racism is real that discrimination is real and they want to do something about it. The movement for racial justice now inspiring more women of color to chase political power. In New York City civil rights lawyer mile wiley is in the hunt to succeed outgoing mayor build the Bellagio. Well in Seattle to women of color are top contenders to lead that city for the first time. North Carolina's first black woman State Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Beasley has thrown her hat in the ring for US senate. I'm very much aware. That there are only twenty or women currently serving in the United States senate. There are zero African American women North Carolina isn't the first eight and we want to see the same reflected in the leadership. I think it's important for our especially our residents across the city of Boston to see reflections of themselves in leadership that's critically important. Boasting councilor and mayoral candidate and he says Sami George is a small business owner in the nation's only Tunisian American elected office it's sometimes becomes. A instead of a compliment or are. An ad in in Richmond of the diversity of this race. It becomes a distraction from the work she says acceptance of women of color in politics. It's still will work in progress there is and as you know a debate whether or not I count as a woman of color whether or not Arab squalid side. For this distinction. And it is certainly the struggle my dad had so I feel like this moment for me personally has been in the making for our many many years. A milestone moment years in the making thanks to generations of women who forged a path. Shirley Chisholm Carol Moseley brawn Nikki Haley Stacey Abrams legions of strong moms. Lois. Slowly does Lois. My face threatens deep in me and it's because of her example I take inspiration every day for my mom a woman who is still. Although she struggles and Elizabeth mental illness the strongest person I know for me it's really about. Regular women who just go to work every day who wake up every day who shall wipe every day. C a portrait of Michelle Obama colonel waters was she someone who has spoken tear and touched you she has been an incredible First Lady and certainly is an inspiration to so many. Women and girls all across our country. What message do you hope that you were leadership in your membership. It sends to those kids when they learn about can change. While it is so important for our young people to to see. This example trip to see me here if you don't see it you know how can you ever imagine it for yourself. For ABC news I'm DeVon Dwyer in Boston.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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