Educate, Organize and Mobilize: Each week over the past several months I’ve written about various aspects of voter suppression with the purpose of explaining its concepts, strategies and objectives to move voters to action against voter suppression. I’ve addressed various individuals and organizations playing key roles in outreach around the state. This week we’ll take a look at the efforts and involvement of Renee Price (Commissioner, Orange County Board of County Commissioners).
My first contact with Commissioner Price occurred in late November or early December as I was following up on information contained in a flyer announcing the “Mobilizing around Voter ID in Orange County.” After several conversations with those involved in the planning I was eventually directed to and talked with Renee about her involvement with activities directed at defeating voter suppression and my desire to work with her.
Our next contact came around the 18th of March when she contacted me with the good news that on March 2, 2014, the North Carolina Association of Black County Officials, of which she is Secretary, had adopted our “RESOLUTION TO DEFEAT VOTER SUPPRESSION” which I co-authored. We had a good discussion on our mutual commitments to defeat voter suppression. Interestingly, later that same day I was asked to design a panel discussion on voter suppression for the North Carolina Alliance of Black Elected Officials’ NC Black Summit 2014. I offered and she accepted my invitation to serve as a panelist. The summit will be held April 24-26 in Durham, NC.
Our voter suppression panel will meet Friday, April 25 from 3-5 pm. Because I found great value in Renee’s ideas and commitment, I asked her to provide a brief summary of the state of affairs surrounding voter suppression in North Carolina as she sees it today.
Commissioner Price wrote that “the right to vote is guaranteed to every America citizen by the US Constitution and its Amendments regardless of economic status, color, ethnicity, national origin, gender or age. This is a right for which generations of people, our foremothers and forefathers, fought and died. As citizens living in this new millennium, we can do no less than to defend and claim our right to vote in every election, and to thwart any and all attempts to diminish our access to the polls or to otherwise disenfranchise us as citizens of North Carolina and the United States.”
She noted that “people of color and women, in particular, should bear in mind that we have been down this road in years past, the results of which were realized in 1920 and again in 1965. The recent voter ID legislation enacted by the power-brokers in the General Assembly, indeed, is both an assault and an insult to anyone who has fought for democracy and justice. Nevertheless, we can defeat voter suppression and we can overcome.”
Lastly, she said that “North Carolinians already have coalesced around the issue of defeating voter suppression; yet we may be able to advance our cause more effectively with a strategic plan—a strategy with targets, timelines and measurables. My hope is that community and political leaders will come together to promote a comprehensive and enduring strategy, and my suggestion is a strategy that involves voter registration, voter education and voter mobilization. While the implementation of the strategy may vary based on the characteristics of our respective communities, the overarching goal will be one in which we can unite and march forward.”
Many of us that are concerned about voter suppression and the slow response of our communities, continue to search for ways to mobilize. The voter suppression landscape will be front and center for our panel and we have other very informed, committed leaders that will be participating. Of course one of the easiest things many readers can do is to join our social media campaign and to ask their Facebook friends to do likewise. Our Facebook page is www.facebook.com/votersuppression. Our goal is 5,000 “likes” before our panel discussion at the Black Summit.
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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)