Today, NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks met with the leadership of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church; Congressional Black Caucus Chair and Congressman G.K. Butterfield; Melanie Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, pastors, millennial activists and leaders of other national African American organizations to launch a mobilization plan for black voter turnout in the November election for the presidential and down-ballot races.
Issues that directly impact African Americans are at the center of the 2016 campaign, including criminal justice reform; voting rights; disrupting the broken education system; entrepreneurship; innovation; income inequality; and unemployment. The leaders issued a call to action to the black community to vote at the same levels that elected and re-elected President Obama in 2008 and 2012, to secure increased influence over policies impacting black lives at the national, state and local levels.
“It is essential for black churches and social justice organizations to work together to maximize voting levels within the black community this Fall,” Brooks said. “The stakes of this election demand the kind of innovation and persistence we can only achieve through collaboration.”
Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Director for the AME church’s Commission on Social Action echoed this call. “Voter apathy is the greatest threat to democracy! For that reason, amev-alert.org has joined with the NAACP and other partners to reach out to every eligible voter. When they speak with their vote, on or before November 8th, the voice of the people will have resoundingly sent a message that social justice matters.”
This is the next step in the NAACP’s aggressive campaign to protect black Americans’ access to the ballot. Yesterday, the organization announced that its Youth & College Division members and Chance the Rapper will come together this Fall to register thousands of concert-goers to vote as part of the #staywokeandvote campaign. NAACP Youth & College volunteers will begin registration drives at the Magnificent Coloring Day Festival on Sept. 24 in Chicago, with registration drives to accompany concerts through Oct. 21 in Fairfax, VA, Raleigh, NC, Atlanta, GA, Miami and Tallahassee, FL, New Orleans, LA, Houston and Dallas, TX and San Francisco, CA.
The NAACP and allies have challenged individual state laws in federal court while calling for congressional action to prevent future attempts to restrict the voting process from candidates seeking office. Through volunteer-driven events across the nation, in communities and on college campuses, NAACP members are aggressively working this Fall to help register voters and stand against intimidation and discrimination in the November election.
Last week, President Brooks and NAACP Youth & College Division Director Stephen Green were ordered to pay fines and court costs for their refusal to leave Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s office after they held a six-hour sit-in protest on voting rights. The NAACP has repeatedly called on Goodlatte and other congressional leaders to hold a hearing to restore the voting rights protections that were eliminated under the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby v. Holder ruling. Since that ruling, more than 17 states have passed restrictive and discriminatory laws that make it more difficult for African-American, young, old and poor voters to cast ballots by requiring IDs and cutting back programs that led to record African-American turnout in recent elections.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.