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.
This week the Campaign to Defeat Voter Suppression will reach an audience critical to its success. The 2014 Black Summit of the Alliance of North Carolina Black Elected Officials will host a panel presentation by leaders representing organizations that are a part of an evolving dynamic network to defend citizens’ right to vote. The audience will include social and political activist from around the state. To help create a more understandable context of our panel discussions, I’m going to refer to earlier information and references that I used to help explain voter suppression and to help readers know it when they see it. I will also highlight new evolving suppression strategies that are being enacted in other states because some of them will surely be coming to the North Carolina General Assembly.