In an op-ed published in Blavity, People For Senior Director of Field Mobilization Diallo Brooks points to the grassroots mobilization in Black communities ahead of the 2020 elections as the starting point for creating an equitable and just future for all.
Brooks connects Black Americans’ long history of political organizing to the decades-long campaign to suppress their votes – and their power – at the ballot box. He argues that now is the time to engage those who are disaffected by the political process, to empower them to play the long game and create lasting change.
I’ve learned over decades of organizing how complex this work can be. Our political power is great — but we also face incredible challenges. Among other hurdles, one common refrain from Black men, in particular, is that they don’t vote because they believe their votes don’t matter. And when you live in a state with a history of voter suppression, it certainly can feel that way …
When I hear sentiments like this … I explain that the act of voting is only part of the solution – and point out the dangers of a circle of distrust that feeds on itself. In the digital era, Black voters’ political dissatisfaction actually makes us more vulnerable to receive and spread propaganda that has been designed for one purpose: to breed political apathy, cynicism and inaction.
Our ancestors fought and died for our right to the ballot. And I can only imagine how proud they would be to see what we have achieved, especially in this year’s elections. We owe it to them to make sure that our voices are never silenced, and we owe it to the generations yet to come to build an inclusive future that protects and supports all of us …
You can read the full op-ed here.