After 246 years of slavery, Americans fought a brutal Civil War — the bloodiest in our history — to end slavery and preserve the union. Three amendments were added to the Constitution: the 13th abolished slavery; the 14th guaranteed equal protection under the laws, and the 15th outlawed discrimination in voting on the basis of race or prior servitude.
Throughout my coverage of voter suppression, I’ve tried to identify and define what a successful campaign to defeat voter suppression looks like. Throughout the time that I’ve been writing about voter suppression (November 2013 – to date), I’ve addressed targets and tactics of voter suppression activist. I’ve also reviewed and analyzed news and other information that I considered important for a good understanding of our challenge. I trust that our readers will refer to my earlier articles for more details. Earlier articles are archived on GreaterDiversity.com and can also be located on the Internet by searching #defeatvotersuppression.
Educate, Organize and Mobilize: This past Saturday, March 8, 2014, I was invited to present and overview on voter suppression to the Pitt County African American Caucus of the Democratic Party. I was pleased to accept the invitation and make a presentation. There were several very important revelations that I came away with. I was joined by Patricia Ferguson, my co-leader of the campaign to defeat voter suppression and chair of the Bertie County African American Caucus. Patricia addressed our campaign’s Resolution to Defeat Voter Suppression and, in an aside, offered an insightful observation to our small attentive audience. She said it is not the size of the audience that is important, but the size of networks that the audience represents. It is important that we are all mindful of this observation as we grow our campaign.
Educate, organize and mobilize: When a community is facing a political disaster should it push the panic button? Many of you know that I’ve been monitoring and writing commentaries on voter suppression and the North Carolina Voter Suppression Act of 2013 since early August 2013. Since August I’ve watched the growth of voter suppression activities and the evolution of under supported campaigns to defeat voter suppression. In deciding whether or not to push the panic button, several important evaluations must be made.
Educate, organize and mobilize: This past Saturday I attended a meeting entitled Operation Jumpstart the Vote Leadership Training. I found it very compelling and informative. You should have been there. In my column last week I noted that since August 2013 I've continued to ask myself "what would an effective campaign to defeat voter suppression look like?” I indicated that I found my answer when discussing the planned participation in the campaign to defeat voter suppression by the North Carolina Alliance of Black Elected Officials, (the Alliance). That column is posted at www.facebook.com/votersuppression and archived on greaterdiversity.com.
Please understand that proclaiming ourselves – that is our Facebook page and website – “number one” in the campaign to defeat voter suppression is necessary to lay the groundwork for the conversation necessary to identify the component parts of an effective campaign. When someone new to the issue of voter suppression wants to get up to speed and educated, where should he go? We argue that for current news he should go to our weekly print edition, free weekly electronic publication and www.Facebook.com/votersuppression. For current commentary, reference should be made to my weekly articles that are archived on our website www.GreaterDiversity.com.
Since August 2013 I've continued to ask myself "what would an effective campaign to defeat voter suppression look like?” Well, on Friday, February 14, 2014, Valentine's Day, I got my answer from Richard Hooker, President of the North Carolina Alliance of Black Elected Officials, (the Alliance). It is not surprising that it is taking time to fully organize an effective response to the NC Voter Suppression Act of 2013, a/k/a, the Voter Information Verification Act of 2013. The Alliance http://ncbeoalliance.org/ is the organization of members of the NC Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, the NC Conference of Black Mayors, NC Black Elected Municipal Officials, NC Caucus of Black School Board Members and NC Black County Officials.
I am very, very pleased with the broad-based response and support that has grown up around the HK on J (Historic Thousands on Jones Street) and Moral Monday Movement. The declared objectives, of course, and the leadership of both initiatives are one and the same. Core announced policy goals of the initiatives are: Economic sustainability, alleviating poverty and expanding labor rights. Fully funded constitutional education. Health care for all – protecting Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, women's health and the Affordable Health Care Act. Addressing disparities in the criminal justice system. Protecting/expanding voting rights and civil rights. Environmental justice. Fair and just immigration reform. Equal protection under the law regardless of race, income, gender or sexual orientation.
While planning to address issues of concern and writing vision statements, the single most important question is what your particular issue or concern will look like at a given point in time. Of course this is important because when you describe what you’d like to see in the future, your action plan necessarily contains action items required to achieve your concern or vision. You’re allowed to pick any point in time and ask the question. So it is with our campaign to defeat voter suppression. As the efforts to defeat voter suppression move forward we are constantly evaluating the three components of our mantra; (1). What should the education component of our campaign look like? (2). what should the organizational component of our campaign look like? (3). what should the mobilization component of our campaign look like? However, the more strategic question that we address in this week’s editorial is, what will North Carolina look like politically on Tuesday, November 5th, 2014?
EDUCATE, ORGANIZE AND MOBILIZE: Voter ID laws require voters to present in most instances, some type of state issued photo identification in order to vote. It is important to note that most voter ID legislation is coming from Republican controlled states and being justified as necessary to address voter fraud. To date, as shown in the Pennsylvania case, the evidence presented proves that among other things voter fraud is rare or non-existent. This week we’ll look at the laws in several states as examples of how these laws came about and are being received in courts and in the court of public opinion. I believe that the best Internet site for a concise overview of voter ID in the United States is one of the sources I’ve used and relied upon for this article. John Holt
- Voter ID Victory
- Pennsylvania Victory: Wilmington Native Defeating Voter Suppression
- The Whole World is Watching Voter Suppression Laws
- The League of Women Voters Responds to Voter Suppression: Educate, Organize and Mobilize
- Defeating voter suppression The North Carolina Model: Educate, Organize and Mobilize
- Aiding and Abetting Voter Suppression: Silence of Modern Day Black Republicans
- Defeat Voter Suppression: Battling a "Hydra"
- The American Dream Lives! But …
- Don’t Wait for the Revolution — 'Be the Change' and Live It
- Zimmerman Verdict: Hope Must Prevail