Vote Your Aspirations Understanding the Value of Political Participationby GDN Shared Post January 7, 2016
Educate, Organize, Mobilize – All Americans should support and aspire to equal opportunity under the law. However, the 400 year history of slavery, Jim Crow and anti-civil rights activities continue to impede the legitimate aspirations of Black Americans to equal opportunity and fairness in America. Many of these ideas herein will be discussed in our upcoming Voter Rights Forums.
The First Congressional District’s Voter Rights Forum will be held in Greenville this 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. All forums are free and open to the public.
Going forward, I recommend that Black voters identify and support at least three priority items that they feel will have the most positive impact on them, their families and communities. My priority suggestions are free college tuition, Obamacare and economic opportunity. Candidates support and deliver on issues that are important to their constituents.
This November fifteen states will have new voter ID laws in effect in the continued 400 year old effort to deny Blacks equal opportunity in America. Voter ID laws are the center piece of voter suppression. Although there is general agreement that it will take massive voter mobilization to defeat voter suppression, accomplishing that mobilization is going to require an effort like we’ve never seen before. The effort will require educating voters and without educating voters we will not be able to overcome voter apathy.
I’m compelled to re-state the fact that Black people are now in the Third Reconstruction Era and that we’re seeking to complete the unfinished business of our 400 year struggle for freedom and equality. As has always been the case, voter suppression and economic opportunity are central to our struggles.
Dr. William Barber, President of the NC NAACP, has spoken forcefully on the fact that the Civil Rights Movement ended with the end of the Second Reconstruction Era and that the 2013 Supreme Court decision of Shelby v. Holder, paved the way for wide spread voter suppression laws signaling the beginning of the Third Reconstruction. Understanding history is essential in educating voters.
The point is that we have unfinished business in our fight for equality and social justice and that we need new ideas for this new generation of struggle. Patronage is the engine that runs politics and politics run America. Understanding patronage is important in educating voters.
CREATIVE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: MORE THAN TEN WAYS TO
HELP DEFEAT VOTER
SUPPRESSION AND APATHY
• Volunteer and recruit others to work with the NC NAACP and Democracy NC voter registration and mobilization efforts.
• Ask elected officials that you support to help you identify patronage opportunities.
• Pick your top issues/aspirations in the upcoming election.
• Organize/lead a voter registration drive in your church.
• Organize/lead a voter registration drive in your civic club or business organization.
• Post political comments on social media.
• Write political columns and letters to the editor.
• Volunteer to speak on politics at public events.
• Subscribe to Black publications. They should provide political messaging and outreach.
• Organize a voter rights forum, attend and support those in your area.
• Mend political fences/disputes. “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25)
• Speak to/teach the 400 year history of voter suppression.
• Speak to/teach the 400 year history of economic exploitation and inequality.
Our voter rights forums were originally designed to help address the need to protect and expand Black voters access to the ballot. A request by Black elected officials and grassroots activist has led us to add an economic opportunity focus to our forums.
The NC Caucus of Black School Board Members (NCCBSBM), the NC Black Elected Municipal Officials (NC BEMO), the NC Association of Black County Officials (NCABCO) and a coalition of Black publishers are co-sponsors of our forums. Participating Black publishers will continue to update our readers with agenda specifics and community engagement ideas as our planning continues to evolve.
NCABO members from Wake, Durham and Orange Counties are planning our Triangle Voter Rights Forum to help provide grassroots activist and elected officials with a another convenient location and opportunity to engage in our efforts of voter rights protection and the expansion of economic opportunity. We will update you with details as they become available.
The Black publications that are presently supporting our efforts are The Fayetteville Press, 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. Please share your ideas on what we can do to improve the 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 at www.facebook.com/greaterdiversitynews, “Share” our articles and post your ideas and comments on Facebook or at our websites www.GreaterDiversity.com. He is available for radio commentaries upon request. Follow him on twitter.com/yourrighttovote. Finally, please ask all of your Facebook “Friends” to like and follow our page. •