Educate, Organize, Mobilize -- Over the past months I’ve written about the necessity of black and low income voters requiring patronage in return for electing politicians to office. This week I’m providing a concept that I think will enable elected officials to demonstrate their commitment to including black and low income voters in job and business opportunities that the officials influence or control. Hopefully, other ideas will be offered to improve upon this presentation.
Everyone knows the First Amendment guarantees free speech and freedom of assembly—the right to protest. But as demonstrations build across the country over institutional racism and excessive force in policing, there are other things protesters need to know, from legal limits on protests to what to do if arrested. In some cities, there’s no guarantee that police will behave, balancing the rights of protesters with what they will say are the rights of everyone else. In recent years, cops have rounded up protesters and bystanders, quarantined or held them without charges for a day or more, and then let them go—pretending the whole episode never happened.
Educate, organize and mobilize -- Last week we announced the upcoming Voter Empowerment Summit scheduled for January 10, 2015 at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 E. Martin St. Raleigh, NC 27601. On Monday Night past, a group of us involved in the planning of the summit held a telephone conference to exchange ideas on substantial components that ensure that the summit will be meaningful and accessible for all persons that believe that we need new ideas to finish the job of creating a meaningful pathway for Black voters and communities to gain access to the American dream.
Educate, organize and mobilize -- I’m pleased to announce the upcoming Voter Empowerment Summit scheduled for January 10, 2015 at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 E. Martin St. Raleigh, NC 27601. My thanks go out to NC House Democratic Leader, Larry Hall and NC Alliance of Black Elected Officials Chairman, Richard Hooker for convening the upcoming summit to address the results of our past November General Elections and to plan voter empowerment strategies going forth.
Educate, organize and mobilize -- Back in September I wrote an article entitled, Voter Suppression: Creating Black Wealth. The impetus for that article was a commentary written by Earl G. Graves, Sr., Publisher of Black Enterprise. The title of his article was "Wake Up! Re-engage in the Battle for Opportunity." He wrote that Black leaders seem to have forgotten that economic reciprocity is only supplied in response to our consistent and resolutely communicating that it is our absolute expectations. I consider myself one of those leaders that have failed to deliver economic reciprocity to Black communities. But, I’m not alone.
Educate, organize and mobilize -- For more than a year leading up to the recently completed General Elections, I’ve written about Voter Suppression, gerrymandering, the Black vote and voters. The good news from the General Election, if there is any, is that the level of participation by Black voters during this midterm was about what it was during the 2010 midterm. The bad news is that our level of participation was far less than it should have been given the seriousness of the issues that confront us as a people and a community. To get ahead in America, Black voters must vote in much greater numbers and demand an equitable return when Black supported candidates win.
Recently, a rising sentiment among some political critics calls for the minimization, if not the dissolution, of the local American voting precinct. At times described prophetic, this group perceives the recent election’s results as a lack of positive effect generated by our smallest democratic unit. But instead of asking for the means to strengthen precincts, as we might imagine, their projected model is something akin to a passkey by which--through their proposed reduction--only the correct few will have access to higher up political arenas.
Educate, organize and mobilize -- Since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s many Blacks have been loyal and consistent voters, albeit at levels that need to increase. During our most recent elections and other elections going back to the sixties, many Black voters have questioned whether their votes would make a difference, and if so, what they would get as a result of electing people to office. In other words, are rewards of voting equal to the value of voting?
Educate, organize and mobilize: Although the results of Tuesday’s General Election are very disappointing, they have given us a real measurement of our task ahead. I don’t have any empirical data to prove the exact results of our mobilization to get-out-the-vote in the Black community; several reports indicate that Black voter participation was down slightly from the 2012 General Election. Unfortunately, our efforts were not enough to deliver victory to Senator Kay Hagan. Additionally, I don’t yet have the empirical data to prove the exact effects of voter suppression on this election. However, many incidents were reported that suggest that the effect was substantial. Kay Hagan may very well have won had Black and other votes not been suppressed.
Educate, organize and mobilize -- Necessarily, this is my last column before the November 4th General Election. The outcome of this election and voter suppression is in your hands. Please continue your outreach by emailing your contacts and posting to your Facebook friends asking and reminding them to vote. It’s important to vote against Republicans because they are the advocates that are committed to voter suppression and preventing Black voters from voting at all. There is no reason for Black voters to vote for a Republican except in very unusual circumstances. The one circumstance in this year’s election is the choice for Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.
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