This story was published in partnership with The 19th, a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom reporting on gender, politics and policy.
In late May, Mona Das watched as protests unfolded in Minneapolis over the killing of George Floyd.
A senator in Washington state, Das felt like she needed to do something to address the systemic racism that had created conditions for a white police officer to kneel onto the neck of Floyd, a Black man, for more than eight minutes.
“I was sitting on the couch thinking, ‘What can I do?’” she recalled.
Das observed people on her social media feed raising matching funds to help arrested protesters with bail money. As she witnessed the collective power of people opening their wallets to respond to the moment, Das thought about how that might help candidates of color — specifically, she knew of several Black women running for the Washington statehouse —