DALLAS - The year 2020 has been a whirlwind to say the least. The words pandemic and unprecedented have probably been used more in 2020 than they ever have before. Although there's a life-threatening pandemic in our country, making a change and fighting social injustice is in the forefront of Black Americans' minds for this upcoming election.
On May 25th, George Floyd died at the knee of Minneapolis police. The gruesome video
went viral across the world and sparked protests and riots against racism and police
brutality. Floyd's death was only the tip of the iceberg for many within the community
after seeing Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Botham Jean, Atatianna Jefferson, and
many more lose their life due to police brutality and/or racism. The epidemic of mental
and emotional stress could have long lingering effects which is why voting is being
pushed more than ever within the black communities and the platforms/networks they
consume the most.
For the first time ever, nationally recognized sports teams are not only spreading the word of voting but are making sure the entire team is registered to vote. Players and coaches that have never voted before are now deciding this election will be the one, they use their voice. Nationally recognized rappers and singers that have never voted before are now deciding this election will be the one, they use their voice. This unforeseen push for the importance of voting wasn't just aimed for star ball players though, the push is for black people to utilize their voice in changing the outcome of those viral videos.
The Dallas NAACP has made multiple efforts to get the important message out to the DFW community. Although their physical efforts have been limited compared to what they would normally be able to accomplish due to COVID-19, they've joined the virtual efforts just like most of the world. They recently scheduled a virtual call for its members and members of the community to discuss the voter registration importance, dates, and how-to guides. According to the local chapter, one of their goals is to make the process as simple as possible because they know once it becomes too much or a little complicated, people may just say, “never mind.”
That “never mind” concern from the local chapter is valid. The loopholes and barriers are one of the main reason's minority voters decide not to vote. According to the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), black and Hispanic citizens are more likely than whites to face barriers at the polls. Barriers that can easily persuade voters away.
DISD Trustee Nominee Tongee Flemming says there's a miseducation of power within the community and when that miseducation shifts, the outcome of the incidents within the community can change.
“You [the community] have the power to hold them [elected officials] accountable. If they're not doing what they said they would do when you elected them, then call them out on it. You have the power.”
2020 marks 150 years since the Fifteenth Amendment, which gave the right for black men to vote and people are just now realizing the importance of that right in 2020.
Race, gender, and age will determine who will win the presidential election and based on the 2016 Black Americans that did not show up to the polls, race will play a significant part in determining the next president of the United States. According to American Progress, in the 2016 election, there were only 12% of black voters compared to 71% white voters.
“As for shifts from 2012, our data show that the white vote share declined by only 0.3 percentage points in 2016. We found that the black vote share declined by 1.1 points.”
In a country that feels like it's divided on race, humanity, and empathy, black voters are feeling the pressure to make their voices heard.
“When you say you're not going to vote, that says to me that you're giving up on yourself. You've given up on your community, you've given up on this country. That's the worst thing you can possibly do,” NAACP President Kevin Felder said.
Felder said the goal is to change the narrative of the community, starting with what they believe in.
Referencing the beatings and hangings that occurred to Black American ancestors, Felder made it clear that it's imperative for the community to move forward and always remember what their ancestors had to endure just for this right.