Educate, Organize, Mobilize – With filings completed, candidates and parties are searching for their paths to victory in the March Primaries and November General Elections. Finding these paths is especially difficult for candidates and parties depending upon a massive turnout of Black voters. Historically, Black voters and communities are last in line for the allocation of resources and first in line for the delivery of votes.
As I wrote last week, voter apathy and voter suppression, the twin dangers blocking Black participation in politics, require two very distinct approaches to overcome these roadblocks. Although I believe that both threats are equally dangerous, we’re much closer to addressing voter suppression than we are to addressing voter apathy.
The NC NAACP has a mobilization strategy to generate a massive voter turnout. I call this the ground game. Their strategy may be sufficient for the voter suppression threat but it doesn’t address the apathy threat. The NC Black Press is working with them to help produce this desired outcome of a massive voter turnout and will add a lot of value to the effort. There are several phases to their overall strategy, which if successful could result in election victories. All supporters that want to help can volunteer at the NC NAACP’s website. (See link No. 1 at the end of this article).
I’ll admit that I didn’t fully understand the threat of voter apathy until after our Voter Rights Forum on November 7th. However, after considering apathy and writing several articles about it, I’ve concluded that apathy is every bit the threat to Black voting as Black access to the ballot box. Apathy is defined as indifference, lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. Apathy is a state of mind and therefore requires a different solution than voter suppression and leadership from a different source.
As I’ve written, voter apathy developed over more than a generation of the Civil Rights Movement and as a result of voters losing faith in the ability of the political process to address many of their priority concerns. Economic equity and income equality are prime examples of unmet priorities of Black voters.
Over the past several weeks, Black Elected Offi-
cials and grassroots leaders have expressed great interest in addressing voter apathy in Black communities and have expressed a desire to see it as a focus in our upcoming Voter Rights Forums. Their thinking is that by adding income equality and economic equity as goals of voter participation, many apathetic voters will take a greater interest in politics and voting. Unlike the ground game to fight voter suppression, the fight against voter apathy is more of a “mind game.”
In my opinion, that unlike voter suppression, only Black Elected Officials can adequately address the voter apathy issue and only by providing a clear understanding of their unique value in bringing income equality and economic opportunity to our communities. Their thinking is that it is their responsibility to educate Black voters on political accountability and patronage and to demonstrate their commitment to both. Their response must be taken to the Black community at-large by themselves, the Black Press and grassroots activists.
With the recent NC Supreme Court decision upholding the redistricting in North Carolina, it is quite apparent that the road to success in 2016 and to political and economic success in Black communities requires massive voter mobilization.
Periodically, I’ll continue to remind our readers that we’re in the era of the Third Reconstruction in America and that to protect and expand our rights, we must engage in new and creative ways of political and economic endeavors. Understanding The Third Reconstruction will help focus our attention on the fight for economic and political equality in this new era of voter suppression. (See link No. 2 at the end of this article).
Additional details for our next forum have been confirmed for Greenville on Saturday, January 9th 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. It will be held at The Greenville Terrace, BET Community Building, located at 120 Park Access Rd., Greenville, NC 27834. We are happy to announce that our Greenville forum is being hosted by the Eastern North Carolina Civic Group (ENCCG) under the leadership of the Honorable Fred Yates. Our forums are free and open to the public.
Several NCABO members agreed to help bring a forum to the triangle in order to provide Wake, Durham and Orange County voters, grassroots activist and elected officials with a more convenient location to engage in our efforts of voter protection and the expansion of economic opportunities.
Black publishers long believed that parties and candidates that expect to be elected with large blocks of Black votes should support subscription drives, advertise campaigns and promote other avenues for the Black press to generate revenue. In this age of the Super PACs and billion dollar campaign expenditures, far too often substantial campaign funds are spent with main stream media and peanuts with the Black Press. It’s like the Black vote is free.
Following are the publications supporting our forums: The Fayetteville Press, The County News, The Carolina Times, The Winston-Salem Chronicle, and Greater Diversity News. Please subscribe to and look to these publications for ongoing coverage as this project continues to evolve and share your ideas on what we can do to improve this project and our coverage.
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Peter Grear, Esq. writes for Greater Diversity News with a primary focus on political, social and economic justice. To support our efforts, to unite our politics and economics, please “Like” and follow us atwww.facebook.com/greaterdiversitynews, “Share” our articles and post your ideas and comments on Facebook or at our websites www.GreaterDiversity.com. Finally, please ask all of your Facebook “Friends” to like and follow our page.
No. 1 http://www.naacpnc.org/