“Have Black Voters Cooled Off?”
That question will dominate during the 2024 election season. It was put to four activist leaders who are part of our Sisters Civic Circle. Operating deep in the trenches of Black voter engagement, they bring perspectives from Atlanta, Charlotte, DC and Philadelphia.
Helen Butler, executive director, Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda
Tired and weary.
They don’t see their lives improving. The cost of living is up, affordable housing is not available and in many places, there is no public transportation. Add to that, it’s more difficult for voters to cast their ballots with the increasing voter suppression laws and policies. My solution is to revive our Green Book for Voter Engagement. It is a toolkit to empower voters in urban, suburban and rural communities.
Janice Robinson, North Carolina program director, Red Wine and Blue
Issues can ignite.
I can’t say whether Black voters overall have cooled off. However, here in Mecklenburg County which covers Charlotte, we have seen the voter turnout rate fall well below the NC statewide average five election cycles in a row with Black/Brown voter turnout being a factor. Not sure whether there is a lack of resources devoted to getting voters out to the polls or the effects of voter suppression. Igniting the spark in voters begins with tapping into issues most important to them.
Jovida Hill, executive director, the Philadelphia Commission for Women
Close the Gender Gap
Cooling off seems to be the case in Philadelphia, but not for all voters? Black women consistently show up and turnout. After the November 7th general election when the city elected its first woman mayor (Cherelle Parker—a Black woman) citywide voter turnout was up but it was down in Black and Latino precincts compared to 2019 off-year elections. While abortion rights and LGBTQ rights fueled significant wins for Democrats nationwide, and even impacted the Pennsylvania Supreme Court race, I fear the issues were not enough to drive Black men to the polls. We have to address the gender gap in the Black community to prepare for 2024.
Holli Holliday, executive director Sisters Lead. Sisters Vote (DC-based national organization)
Fired-up, not cooling down.
We are more engaged than ever. Not only are we voting, we are participating, advocating and leading in organizations and as individuals. Across the country, more and more voting groups are being created to meet the growing needs of Black voters to have access to accurate information and voting. As conservative extremists continue their assault on our rights and freedoms, Black voters are standing up and fighting back. From abortion access to voting rights, Black people are important allies in winning these fights. Everywhere we look, in almost every sector, Black voters are leading organizations, movements, anti-war protests and even at the polls.