In early April I wrote that, when the 2016 General Elections roll around, if progressive advocacy groups haven’t engaged in a massive campaign to defeat voter ID and other voter suppression tactics, their inaction will result in Hillary losing North Carolina and possibly her quest to become America’s first woman President. Yes, once again North Carolina is a battle-ground state.
It goes without saying, that if Hillary loses, other candidates supported by progressive advocacy groups will suffer the same fate, while the proponents of voter suppression will have their control of North Carolina politics extended for another 2-6 years. It is not hard to imagine what these additional terms in office will mean to those of us that have suffered historical discrimination and exploitation.
The opponents of voter suppression need to be mounting major efforts to defeat it now; defeating it is a task that becomes more difficult every day. Opponents of voter suppression need to work as if the courts are going to rule against them on every issue. Hillary, her Super Pac, other candidates and their support groups that oppose voter suppression should fund the efforts needed to be successful at a level necessary for success.
The Black press should be a primary tool used to educate, organize, and mobilize Black voters, ministers and communities, as only the Black press can. It should be adequately funded with advertising dollars that provide the operating capital that we need to deliver for our people and the other progressives that depend on the Black vote to get elected. The way that the Black press has been utilized in past elections will not be adequate for the mobilization needed in November 2016.
I’ve been heavily monitoring and writing about voter suppression since June 2013. I see the NC NAACP and Democracy NC as the two entities carrying the load in their efforts to protect the voting rights of those affected by voter suppression. This is really a shameful state of affairs and we need to address it as responsible community leaders. All of our leaders, political and otherwise, owe it to our communities to be knowledgeable enough to engage in and to lead the ongoing efforts required to mobilize activities to defeat voter suppression.
To get to where we want to be as a society, it is necessary for us to take full advantage of the electoral process. Today, America is a country that is characterized by racial disparities throughout our society. They include but are not limited to income inequality, health coverage, education opportunity, welfare, poverty, criminal and social justice, voter access, housing, employment, access to capital and many, many more. These disparities are and always have been, influenced and controlled by the people that we elected to office.
Voter suppression is a massive problem in North Carolina and around the country. To protect the voting rights of our citizens we must mount a massive campaign. I don’t see that campaign coming together and I’m looking for it. If I’m wrong or missing something I need to be presented new information so that I can pass it on. If I’m not, all of us need to issue a call to action and continue with the call until we see the action. All of the candidates for office that depend on Black and progressive voters should be front and center making this call, Hillary included.
I observed a positive sign other than efforts of the NAACP and Democracy NC this past weekend. I was in an all day meeting with progressive activist on Saturday. I didn’t hear or see one word of support for any particular candidate including no campaign literature. However, there were passionate pleas to engage in campaigns to defeat voter suppression and testimonies from people that are actually working to do so. We need to hear and see a lot more of this.
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