Educate, organize and mobilize: Last week we announced the upcoming Voter Empowerment Summit scheduled for January 10, 2015 at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 E. Martin St. Raleigh, NC 27601. On Monday Night past, a group of us involved in the planning of the summit held a telephone conference to exchange ideas on substantial components that ensure that the summit will be meaningful and accessible for all persons that believe that we need new ideas to finish the job of creating a meaningful pathway for Black voters and communities to gain access to the American dream.
Following are several components that we discussed and intend to include in the summit program. They are not ranked in priority of importance. However, we believe that they are all important in ensuring a successful event. We discussed debriefing the results of the November General Elections by asking stakeholders to discuss what they think went right in November, what they think went wrong and what they think we can do better in our next election.
We are seeking studies that evaluated the details of our past election as they related to various aspects of Black voter participation so that we can discuss findings and share them with stakeholders and the general public. One of our goals is to increase Black voter participation and engagement. We discussed ways to answer the question many voters often ask; what benefits do I get from voting and does my vote matter.
Discussed were ways that elected officials can demonstrate their responsiveness to issues important to their supporters, including jobs and economic opportunities. It was decided to pursue a concept paper that will address these issues and make suggestions designed to strengthen elected officials ability to empower Black voters and communities. The issue of outreach to other individuals and organizations was considered as was the need to invite as many like-minded entities as possible to become co-sponsors of the summit. Commitment to the cause is the only cost to become a co-sponsor.
I’ll provide ongoing commentaries and opinions in an effort to get the masses to take a critical look at where we are politically and economically in North Carolina, why we are where we are and to provide input in the development of strategies designed to take us to a better place.
Included in my commentary last week was an overview of eras of Black Reconstruction. I recommend that readers view a short YouTube clip by the Rev. Dr. William Barber, Chair of the North Carolina NAACP and leader of the Moral Monday Movement. (See link #1 below). In the clip he discussed the “Third Reconstruction.” The First Reconstruction was the period of time immediately after the Civil War when Blacks gained citizenship rights and began exercising their right to vote up until the end of the Nineteenth Century. The Second Reconstruction is defined as that period of time following the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Decision up to and through the Civil Rights Era of the sixties. Dr. Barber and others, me included, believe that we are now in the third era of Black Reconstruction.
Each era of reconstruction is characterized by progress made by Blacks because of voting law changes and the efforts of the rightwing to restrict voting rights in order to limit and reverse Black progress. Author-Scholar Manning Marable, Rev. Barber and MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry are among an ever growing group of Black opinion leaders calling for a Third Reconstruction for freedom and social justice and to build upon the gains of the First and Second Reconstructions.
Because Black voters have invested their political power in Black Elected Officials they look to them for support and direction in developing a new sense of awareness in our struggle to make the political process more accountable to the needs of low and no income voters. An important article that provides historical context to the issue of Reconstruction is Rightwing Neo-Session or a Third Reconstruction by Bob Wing. (See link #2 below).
We will continue to explore our options going forward and urge all of our leadership organizations and individuals to add the issues of increasing Black voter participation and securing political patronage to their meeting agendas.
As further details of the summit are finalized I will continue to provide updates and will start a Facebook event to help gauge support. The summit is free and open to all. If your organization is interested in being a co-sponsor of the summit, please send me an email. Lastly, to review my article from last week, please see Link #3 below.
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Peter Grear, Esq. writes for Greater Diversity News with a primary focus on politics and economics. To support our efforts to marry our politics and economics please “Like” and follow us at www.facebook.com/VoteYourEconomics. “Share” our articles, and your ideas and comments on Facebook or at our website www.GreaterDiversity.com. Comments can also be sent to [email protected] Finally, please ask all of your Facebook “Friends” to follow our above-referenced recommendations.
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