Educate, Organize and Mobilize: It's fifty years since the passage of the Civil Rights of 1964 (The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965) and this is turning out to be quite a political season. There are many unforeseeable and unpredictable lessons that can be learned by observing the advocates of voter suppression. However, there appears to be a least one lesson that seems to be obvious. Voter suppression has the potential to decide numerous elections in November. The fight will be massive voter suppression vs. massive voter turnout. The battle lines in this fight have been building since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in 2013. These contests are developing all over the country. However, as during the “Mississippi Freedom Summer” of 1964, the right of Blacks to vote in Mississippi is again one of the hottest topics of the conversation.
Educate, Organize and Mobilize: I confess that I’m amazed. The Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of North Carolina announced last week that they have launched the North Carolina Black Advisory Board (BRAB) to strengthen the party’s ties with diverse communities and expand engagement efforts across the state. I presume that by diverse communities, they mean the Black communities. Surely they’d need a Hispanic Advisory Board to help them with outreach to Hispanic Communities.
Educate, Organize and Mobilize: Last week I analyzed an article written by Dan Russo of the Roanoke Times. My point of interest in his article was his conclusion that, in order for democrats to win in November they would have to generate a massive turnout. I agreed with his conclusion but not his opinion of an action plan that would lead to such a turnout. Recently, President Bill Clinton, while speaking out against voter suppression, has expressed a similar conclusion and a similar theory about how to get the enhanced turnout.
Educate, Organize and Mobilize: I’ve been doing commentaries on our Campaign to Defeat Voter Suppression since November, 2013. Because the right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, I’ve tried to promote a non-partisan theory of voter enfranchisement. The right to vote is essential to the existence of the United States as a free and open society and shouldn’t be viewed in a partisan prism. The right to vote should be an issue of citizenship, not partisanship. Unfortunately, voter suppression appears to be a partisan pursuit. To provide a balanced presentation of world-wide voter suppression, since about September 2013, I’ve been subscribing to Google Alerts,” voter suppression”, a free service. Several times each week, I receive alerts from Google to stories that address voter suppression. Google Alerts aren’t compiled with partisan considerations but selected because they relate to the right to vote. Some of my commentaries are included in Google Alerts.
Educate, Organize and Mobilize: In commentaries that I wrote several months ago I likened efforts to defeat voter suppression to battling a hydra and noted that it was impossible to defeat voter suppression if you don’t know it when you see it. Hopefully, over the course of our coverage, readers are more aware of what we’re up against and looking back will add a better perspective of where we are today. Additionally, each week I’ll try to highlight one or two developments around voter suppression.
Educate, Organize and Mobilize: From time to time it helps to survey the landscape and make an assessment of your project in order to help keep it on track or to correct your course. With the Campaign to Defeat Voter Suppression we must constantly reach out to our allies and highlight developments in our state, nationally and internationally. I trust that our readers will read background information about our highlights and continue to help us to educate, organize and mobilize opposition to our hard won right to vote.
Educate, Organize and Mobilize: Frequently, in going forward it is imperative to examine your history. In 1638 the Maryland Colony issued a public edict encouraging the separation of the races that became the public policy of America. The edict became known as the "Doctrine of Exclusion." The edict stated that, "Neither the existing black population, their descendants nor any other blacks shall be permitted to enjoy the fruits of white society." Eventually other colonies picked up the edict and passed their own laws that collectively became known as the Slave Codes of 1705.
Educate, Organize and Mobilize: Last week Jaymes Powell Jr. wrote for the African American Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party (AAC-NCDP) a very uplifting and accurate account of how Black candidates fared in the recent primaries. I spoke with him and raised my concerns that his account, though accurate, might lead Black voters into a false sense of security that will haunt us in November and beyond. Despite the successes of Black candidates in the past primaries, the threats created by gerrymandering and the Voter Suppression Act of 2013 are enormous.
Educate, Organize and Mobilize: On June 6, 2014, at its annual Education Scholarship Event, the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus Foundation will provide a briefing on the new rules for voting in North Carolina. These new rules are the product of the Voter Suppression Act of 2013 (A.K.A.) the Voter Information and Verification Act of 2013 passed by the 2013 NC Legislature and signed into law by Governor McCrory. I presume that the briefing will actually show that voter suppression is so much more than voter ID and that the briefing will help ordinary voters to better recognize multiple voter suppression tactics when they see them. Education is a critical element in our fight for voting rights and to defeat voter suppression. For details of their entire event and for registration information, visit www.NCLBCF.org.
Educate, Organize and Mobilize: Last week the North Carolina Alliance of Black Elected Officials (The Alliance) presented a panel discussion on the state of voter suppression in North Carolina. The Alliance and its supporters is an audience critical to the success of the Campaign to Defeat Voter Suppression. I was privileged to have had the opportunity to design the presentation, select the panelist and to serve as a panelist. Our presentation was well attended and probably the majority in attendance was Black Elected Officials. Judging by the evaluations and responses, I think that the presentation was a great success on at least two different fronts. Firstly, the panelist and audience were able to define our voter suppression problems and challenges in an open forum with people that are quite familiar with the issues. Secondly, we were able to offer and receive ideas on a way forward, again, with people that are community and political leaders and familiar with community dynamics and mobilization.
- Educate, Organize and Mobilize: The War On Voters
- The Lay of the Land: NC Voter Suppression
- Vote Defender Election Protection Training Spring 2014
- The Koch Brothers: They’re Un-American
- Harry Reid Got It Right: Koch Brothers Are Un-American
- Voter Outreach
- Mirror, Mirror On the Wall
- Low Information Voters: ALEC
- Still Fighting for Right to Vote
- Educate, Organize and Mobilize: A Matter of Faith