Educate, Organize and Mobilize — Going forth I plan to be redundant, redundant and redundant. For the last two years I’ve consistently written about what I see as the need for Blacks and progressives to educate, organize, and mobilize to defeat voter suppression and protect hard won voting rights.
I’ll admit that I’m not fully satisfied with what I see as our response to the needed protection of our voting rights, but I do see signs of progress. Going forth I’ll continually report on individuals and organizations that I think are setting the right example for what political, religious, and civic organizations and individuals should be doing. Of course, I’ll also continue to suggest actions and strategies that I think need to be taken to help in the protection of our voting rights.
My top religious model is the leadership role assumed by the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC) in the call by Dr. James C. Perkins, (PNBC) President, and faith-based leaders to restore the Voting Right Act that was gutted on June 25, 2013 by the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County vs. Holder.
Restoring the Voting Rights Act will be the predominant focus of PNBC during its Annual Session in Dallas, TX from August 2-7, 2015, with a major event culminating on August 6, 2015 marking the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The convention was the convention-denominational home and platform for the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who addressed every annual session of the convention until his death in 1968.
A top political model is Mayor Chris Rey of Spring Lake, NC, President of the North Carolina Black Elected Municipal Officials (NC BEMO). He has indicated to me that restoring the Voting Act of 1965 and protecting voting rights is and will be a high priority of NC BEMO from now through the November 2016 General Election.
Mayor Rey has invited me to do a presentation on the subject voter suppression and voter mobilization at the NC BEMO 2015 convention being held in Winston-Salem from July 30 to August 2nd. He is urging all NC BEMO members to become ambassadors for voting rights protection in their communities and other organizations in which they have membership.
If your religious, political or civic organization is having a convention or regular meeting between now and November 2016 please consider the voting rights position taken by PNBC and NC BEMO and urge your organization to take the PNBC/NC BEMO pledge and make voting rights a priority on your convention’s agenda. Hopefully, individual leaders and leadership organizations that adopt the PNBC/NC BEMO commitments will report it to me so that I can include you in our growing network.
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 to protect voting rights heading into 2016.
By now, most people know that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was the most important accomplishment of the Civil Rights Movement and that it is under relentless assault by billionaire corporations and individuals. It is incumbent upon those that understand the value of the Civil Rights Movement and voting rights to commit concentrated efforts to generate efforts to fight against them.
What is needed to defeat these immoral assaults is for Black leaders, progressives, and grassroots activists to consolidate their opposition in a strategic plan to protect our voting rights. There is much opposition around the state and the country, but in North Carolina it is not adequately unified and coordinated.
Every day there are news reports of the obscene amounts of money and efforts that are being targeted to undermine progressive candidates and prevent Black voters from free unfettered access to the ballot box.
As I’ve already stated, during the coming weeks I’ll be redundant, I’ll continue to stress the interrelated roles of the Black press, clergy, civic organizations and elected officials. If either of these parties fails to fully engage, our chances of success will be greatly diminished and the billionaires will win. Please post your comments on this topic and add your voice to the opposition.
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