Educate, organize and mobilize: Over the last year I’ve been co-leading the Campaign to Defeat Voter Suppression. Our campaign has sought to educate our communities to the point that they would organize and mobilize for a massive voter turnout for the November General Election and beyond. With less than 90 days before the election I wonder if our well intended efforts to promote voter participation have been in vain. This week I’m going to touch on three strategic issues that I hope will help to illuminate the dangers facing Black Communities in hopes that the sense of urgency that some of us feel will move all of us to action. Of course our standing focus issue is voter suppression and on that issue I must report that on Friday, August 8, a Federal Judge ruled that the provisions of the GOP enacted Voter Suppression Act of 2013 (VSA) would be allowed for the November General Election.
I’ll remind you that the provisions on voting contained in the North Carolina VSA are widely considered to be the most restrictive provisions in the country. The end result is that if the objectives of the VSA are realized, America’s first Black President is more likely to be impeached and removed from office and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are more likely to be shut down.
Will the prospects of impeaching President Obama and shutting down HBCUs serve to underscore the importance of a massive voter turnout in November; will they clarify the urgency of our task at hand?
Every day there is talk in Washington, D.C. about impeaching the President. Pundits point out that if Republicans pick up six US Senate seats in November that the impeachment of Barack Obama is almost a certainty. One of the seats that the pundits believe to be in the greatest danger of switching party hands is the one being contested in North Carolina. Are Black Voters in North Carolina sitting back and allowing the likelihood of Obama’s impeachment and removal to become more of a reality?
Recently, Marybeth Gasman published an article on diverseeducation.com that speaks directly to the threats of North Carolina’s HBCUs. In her article she wrote that,”On May 29, 2014, the North Carolina senate debated a plan that would require the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina System to study “the feasibility of dissolving any constituent institution whose fall full-time equivalent student enrollment declined by more than twenty percent (20%) between the 2010-2011 fiscal year and the 2013-2014 fiscal year” and to develop a plan for its dissolution….” She noted that Elizabeth City State University was on the potential chopping block because of enrollment declines it had suffered until public outrage caused the senate to back away from its plan. Further she states that in 2013, Governor Pat McCrory suggested merging or closing HBCU campuses as well as eliminating academic programs to cut spending in the state.
I’m a graduate of an HBCU as are my wife, son, sisters and numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives. If HBCU Alumni Associations would add voter participation to their standing efforts of fund raising they would raise more money for their institutions while at the same time make a political declaration that they understand the relationship voting and the salvation of HBCUs. Many of us, me included, would not have had many of the opportunities that we’ve enjoyed had it not been for our HBCUs. Will the ongoing threat to close our HBCUs be enough to get the attention of Black Voters or are we too passive to react? The practice of closing Black schools is not new as many of us well remember.
The success of voter suppression will surely lead to the impeachment of President Obama and his removal from office. Its success will certainly destroy the dreams of a college education shared by generations of Blacks. Its success will be punishment for our failure to use one of our greatest gifts from the Civil Rights Movement.
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Peter Grear, Esq. writes for Greater Diversity News with a primary focus on voter suppression. To join the campaign to defeat voter suppression please “Like” and follow us at www.facebook.com/votersuppression, “Share” our articles, and your ideas and comments on Facebook or at our website www.GreaterDiversity.com. Also, to promote the campaign to defeat voter suppression, please ask all of your Facebook “Friends” to follow the above-referenced recommendations. Additionally, please follow us on Twitter at @yourrighttovote: (https://twitter.com/yourrighttovote)