President Johnson and leaders of the civil rights movement made unimagined strides to improve the ability of blacks to exercise their right to vote. Yet those of us who carry on their fight recognize there is still so much to be done.
African-Americans are entitled to the same rights and treatment as everyone else when they go to the polls. Voting is a right, and every citizen must enjoy it equally. There is simply no excuse, no reasonable explanation why minorities should face greater obstacles in order to exercise this most fundamental right.
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Now, more than ever is a crucial time to initiate change – and it all begins with you. The task may seem daunting, but a multitude of resources and materials is available to help inspire change, from the moment you register to vote to your first step from the polling location with an “I Voted” sticker proudly displayed near your heart. Below are some helpful tips and links that can get you started, but don’t feel limited to only this list. Research, question, get involved, get inspired – the time to step up is now.
- Contact organizations you support and ask who they endorse. Research the candidates to find those who are most aligned with your interests. The National Black Justice Coalition is a great place to start with their commitment to enhancing K-12 education for black children and a strategic focus on strengthening and supporting black families.
- Effect change and join the movement to encourage voter registration with the NAACP Power of 5 Campaign, which challenges volunteers to use their circle of influence to register 5 people to vote.
- Research candidates and find helpful resources through the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. The NCBCP has launched a handful of programs that encourage black men, women, and youth to participate in the vote.
- Get assistance obtaining a government-issued ID through Spread the Vote, a group that helps eligible voters secure an ID “365 days a year PLUS Election Day.” Many states have chapters, including Florida.
- Utilize services like Lyft that offer reduced-cost or free rides on Election Day.
- Use VoterPal, an app that targets Latino voters and makes it easy to register to vote. Voto Latino pioneered this user-friendly mobile application, which scans state-issued IDs and automatically fills out voter registration information.
- If possible, attend one of the stops on the National Urban League Voter Engagement Campaign’s four-city tour rally (Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta).
You can read about obstacles we continue to overcome in part one of this post.