For decades, the NAACP has used its mighty voice and its strength in numbers to force change: change in our schools, change in our police departments, change at our state capitols and in Congress.
This year, the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act, we will need to draw on the strength of our numbers again.
In the wake of the Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court decision, more than 30 states, many with the worst legacies of racial hate and oppression, have adopted laws that create ID requirements and new obstacles to registering and casting a vote on Election Day. Through massive and deliberate overhauls of election codes, many states have scaled back early voting, easy registration and other voting programs proven to increase turnout.
Just as poll taxes and literacy tests were once used to turn away Black voters, the latest election laws have been twisted to make it more difficult for people of color, senior citizens, and the young to exercise their right to vote. But we at the NAACP have seen this before, and we know that only our actions can make our voices heard in the most fundamental way there is — through the ballot.
There is too much at stake for us to remain silent or stay home in this election year. The next appointees to the Supreme Court are at stake. The environmental health of communities of color across the country is at stake. The restoration of the Voting Rights Act is at stake. The civil rights legacy of both our forebears and young activists is at stake.
The NAACP and its members are the best equipped to confront this crisis head on in this crucial election year. To achieve the results we want and need for our communities to thrive and grow, the volunteers of our 2,200 branches and conferences must become a community united — multiracial, multigenerational and singularly focused on getting out the vote on November 8.
We need you to join our partnership of community-based organizations in a coordinated campaign to register more than 500,000 voters and bring them to the polls by leveraging today’s technology including social media and using the strategies and tactics we’ve learned and perfected over the years, including phone banking, door-to-door canvassing and working with communities and churches. If we act, we can ensure our numbers and presence are not ignored.
Our voices and votes are among the most powerful tools we have to defeat bigotry and injustice. We must turn up the volume of our voices to turn out the votes this November. Stand your ground, claim our future, and ensure that our votes count.
Rev. Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – NAACP the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.
Need help finding your polling station? Go to: http://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us