Educate, organize and mobilize: Although the results of Tuesday’s General Election are very disappointing, they have given us a real measurement of our task ahead. I don’t have any empirical data to prove the exact results of our mobilization to get-out-the-vote in the Black community; several reports indicate that Black voter participation was down slightly from the 2012 General Election. Unfortunately, our efforts were not enough to deliver victory to Senator Kay Hagan. Additionally, I don’t yet have the empirical data to prove the exact effects of voter suppression on this election. However, many incidents were reported that suggest that the effect was substantial. Kay Hagan may very well have won had Black and other votes not been suppressed.
Voter suppression tactics were employed by Republicans in many states around the country. The tactics resulted in millions of citizens being denied their right to vote for candidates that they supported. As we move forward in our Campaign to Defeat Voter Suppression, we must reflect on things that we did wrong and things that we did right. I think that the most important thing that we did right was to mobilize and support Moral Monday, the NC NAACP and Rev. William Barber. What we didn’t do was to effectively mobilize in other areas to help the NAACP.
What we need immediately is a Black Summit or convention designed to plan a strategy going forward that will increase our voter education, registration, organization and mobilization. It is imperative that we not embark upon such an effort without making sure that our action plan includes verifiable bench marks that will enable Black voters ensure themselves that they are receiving jobs and economic opportunities in exchange for their votes.
In the coming weeks I’ll be writing about strategies that voters should employ to hold elected officials accountable for their support. The first such article will feature the Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce. I believe that Black Chambers are ideally suited to help conceptualize a plan that will set realistic goals and procedures to make sure that as we move forward we’re not voting just for the sake of voting, but instead voting our economics.
Today, we must start planning and organizing for 2016 and beyond. However, defeating voter suppression will be irrelevant if we as a Black community are not financially rewarded in the process.
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Peter Grear writes commentaries 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 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 and #defeatvotersuppression. •