Efforts to protect and expand voting rights in North Carolina continue to gain strength. Details of our third forum, the Triangle Voters Right Forum and Get Out The Voter (GOTV) Rally are being finalized for ongoing announcements.
We are pleased to announce that the Honorable G.K. Butterfield, Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, has committed to deliver our “Call to Action” for the March Primaries and November General Elections. Our forum will be held on March 6, 2016 starting at 5:00 p.m. It will be held at Union Baptist Church, 904 N. Roxboro St., Durham, N.C. 27701. Our forums are free and open to the public.
Kenneth Edmonds, publisher of the Carolina Times, is our host publisher. Please refer to the Carolina Times for ongoing updates and details of this and other forums to come. Our Triangle planning team has been led by Triangle commissioners that are members of the NC Association of Black County Officials.
Our forums were originally designed to help address the need to protect and expand Black voters access to the ballot. However, a demand by Black elected officials, leaders and grassroots activists has led us to add an economic equity focus to our forums.
We have received recommendations and offers to help convene additional forums in the Triad for the 12th Congressional District and an unnamed location for a 4th Congressional District forum. There are also discussions for an additional suggested forum that I’ll announce once I have more information.
The NC NAACP and Democracy NC have standing invitations to present at our forums and one or both presented at our first two forums. However, Democracy NC and the NAACP are working jointly on voter mobilization and therefore their activities are sure to be covered as a part of our ongoing outreach. (See link No. 1 below for updated information about H K on J and link No. 2 for 2016 election information, including a calendar of important dates for the March 15 Primary). Democracy NC has committed to present at our Triangle Forum.
Because we’ve identified voter apathy as a threat to voter participation that may rival voter suppression, we’ve divided our forum agenda to address voter suppression and voter apathy as separate issues. Democracy NC and the NAACP will address voter mobilization with a game plan to overcome voter suppression. I anticipate Black elected officials and grassroots activists to lead the discussion on strategies to overcome voter apathy and that they will include economic equity as a voter participation issue.
Prior forums and other discussions seem to indicate that making economic opportunity for people of color a political priority and that adding it to party and campaign platforms would help with the intractable problems of poverty and lack of opportunity in communities of color.
The NC Caucus of Black School Board Members (NCCBSBM), the NC Association of Black County Officials (NCABCO), and the NC Black Elected Municipal Officials (NC BEMO) are a part of a coalition of Black publishers that co-sponsor our forums. Participating Black publishers will continue to update our readers with agenda specifics and vision ideas as our planning continues to evolve.
While convening our forums, publishers will continue to engage in messaging and outreach in order to ensure that all who wish to get involved with the task of protecting and expanding our voting rights will know how to get involved. Educating, organizing and mobilizing Black voters are inherent in our efforts to succeed in protecting our voting rights.
We believe that the way we address the issue of protecting the voting rights of Blacks will go a long ways with efforts to bring economic equity to communities of color. The challenges to protect voting rights are the same as those we face in creating economic equity. Both challenges require ongoing interaction between all segments of our communities and the strategic leadership of Black elected officials.
Last week I wrote that candidates and party leaders depending upon increased Black voter participation to win in November, would be well advised to embrace economic equity as a step in that direction. People of color deserve their fair share of public opportunities. I also noted that I’ve prepared a political survey and encouraged voters of color to use it at candidate forums and to present to elected officials and candidates seeking their votes. (See link No. 3 below).
An important suggestion that has resulted from our economic equity discussions is that we ask these same candidates and elected officials to support the creation of “Diversity Plans” in their particular public entities.
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. Finally, please ask all of your Facebook “Friends” to like and follow our page.
No. 1 http://hkonj.com/