By now all of America, and Blacks in particular, are aware of the ‘Voter Suppression’ legislation introduced in more than 28 states with more than 108 legislative proposals introduced to restrict voter participation aimed at African Americans in particular. These legislative proposals introduced and passed already in some states are the products of Republican controlled state legislative bodies. The New York Times has already said that these efforts represent the worst attack on voter participation since Reconstruction and Jim Crow. Those measures led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which was gutted in part by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.
It appears that the call for action against these efforts is coming out of the state of Georgia, just as it gave us the two U.S. Senators needed to give control of the U.S. Senate to President Biden and Vice President Harris as the tie breaking vote in the senate. The answers appear, in part, to rest with the newly created ‘Black Voters Matter’ campaign. This effort is placing pressure on some of the largest corporations in America to stop funding those members of the legislature backing these measures and to use their collective lobbying influence nationwide to withdraw support from those legislators who support voter suppression laws. The companies so far identified include: Coca Cola, UPS, Home Depot, just to name a few, with others being added to the list. Black Voters Matter organizers believe that these and other Fortune 500 companies can force change by withholding financial support and lobbying against such laws.
Black Voters Matter should spread across this country just as Black Lives Matter did. The idea is not one of calling for ‘boycotts’ but rather the support of those who support voter inclusion and the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. The Black Press can play a major role in this movement by helping our communities know who are the legislative members supporting the proposed voter suppression laws. Many of these laws, as proposed in Georgia, would limit voting to the hours of 9 am to 5 pm daily; eliminate Sunday voting, reduce polling sites in Black and communities of color; reduce ballot collection boxes and require state voter identification cards, which many seniors would not be able to obtain since they don’t always have access to birth records.
We the Black Press, who have told our story for 194 years, can once again tell the story of those who are proposing and support such legislation in each of the states in which we live and vote; we can encourage voter registration such as that which defeated Donald Trump in November 2020; and we can ensure by doing so that with the 2022 elections the Republicans, White Nationalists and the likes of those who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 are once again defeated at the ballot box. Let’s get involved if we are not already, and let’s stay involved.