Educate, Organize and Mobilize – To suggest that I’ve had an enlightening past few weeks would be an understatement. Our readers are well aware of the seemingly endless articles I’ve written about voter suppression, the “Doctrine of Exclusion” and the expectations of Black voter participation in November 2016. Much of what I’ve written about included a search for what I believe to be the right blend of leadership needed to protect and promote the legitimate objectives of our Black communities.
In my quest to identify the leadership blend needed to promote the needs of Black communities, I’ve sought other leaders and leadership organizations to take the point with the Black Press working with them toward common community goals. Over the past few weeks I’ve come to realize that the Black Press is the only community institution with the reach and historic credibility required to accomplish the objectives as I’ve described them above.
Last week I listed the leadership organizations that I was aware of that were playing critical roles in the protection of voting rights leading up to the November 2016 General Election. The organizations that I identified were The NC NAACP, Democracy NC and Advance NC. In the coming weeks I’ll continue to write about the activities of these organizations. However, the NAACP and Democracy NC have long standing reputations for working to protect voting rights and, for the record, I support and work with both.
However, Advance NC is relatively new to North Carolina community empowerment and I’ll provide some introductory information to those that may not be familiar with them. Last week I described their mission as I understood it at the time as “Over-tasked and Under-funded”. This past weekend I sat in on an organizing meeting for Advance NC and by doing so developed a much better understanding of their short and long term objectives. I fully support what they’re trying to do but have concluded that if successful, their efforts would only address part of what we need in November 2016. With their stated goals and timelines they may not be over-tasked or under-funded.
I like what I see in Advance NC. I like the start-up leadership and I like Advance NC’s stated mission. It describes itself as “a Black-led statewide 501(c) 4 organization committed to expanding Black political and economic power in NC”. They intend to be an umbrella organization for other leaders and groups that have similar goals. To that end, I suggest that the Black Press and others message that fact and coalesce with them where our goals over-lap while we continue to press our priorities where they don’t. I’ll continue to evaluate Advance NC efforts in future articles.
In my opinion, the Black Press should convene a statewide voter protection forum with the objective of generating support and funding that will allow us do strategic outreach for voters threatened by voter suppression. As I’ve often said, candidates that depend on Black votes for their elections are vulnerable in certain 2016 campaigns. The best examples are the candidates for statewide offices like the North Carolina Governor, Lt. Governor, Council of State offices and the US Senate. I believe that without a massive turnout of Black voters these candidates are likely to lose. I also believe that the Black press has the ability to create the massive turnout but not the financial resources.
And I’ll repeat, the history shows that the best funded candidates supported by Black voters tend to spend token amounts with the Black press and massive amounts with traditional media. This is a recipe for defeat in 2016 and to avoid it mobilization efforts led by the Black Press need to start now, and supporters of Black voting rights need to fund our efforts.
The Black press should be a primary tool used to educate, organize, and mobilize Black voters, ministers and communities, as only the Black press can. It should be adequately funded with advertising dollars that provide the operating capital that we need to deliver for our people and for the other progressives that depend on the Black vote to get elected. The way that the Black press has been utilized in past elections will not be adequate for the mobilization needed in November 2016.
As I wrote last week, to get to where we want to be as a society, it is necessary for us to take full advantage of the electoral process. Today, America is a country that is characterized by racial disparities throughout our society. They include but are not limited to income inequality, health coverage, education opportunity, welfare, poverty, criminal and social justice, voter access, housing, employment, access to capital and many, many more. These disparities are and always have been, influenced and controlled by the people that we elected to office.
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