As the nation faces the first Presidential election without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act, the nation’s top racial justice advocacy groups launched a bus tour to encourage voting among people of color, students and other vulnerable citizens.
“When you have top political leaders actually encouraging voter intimidation, it’s more important than ever for every citizen to know their rights and exercise them with determination,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. “It’s taken a full generation to get African-American voting rates to the same level as whites, and we can’t allow that progress to be destroyed.”
“Our Vote Matters,” a national voter education and motivation campaign began touring northeast Ohio today, kicking off with a news conference at the Urban League of Greater Cleveland.
“Cleveland is Ohio’s most diverse city so it’s particularly important we make our voices heard,” Cleveland affiliate President and CEO Marsha Mockabee said.
The bus tour included rallies with entertainment and prizes with a focus on getting out the vote.
“It’s no secret that there’s been a concerted effort among some elected officials to suppress the vote among people of color,” National Action Network President Rev. Al Sharpton said. Ohio’s state legislature, for example, has slashed the number of early-voting days. Ohio is one of 14 states that have new voter restrictions in place for this year’s Presidential election – restrictions that disproportionately affect people of color.
Melanie Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable said, “Black women are a powerful force when it comes to getting our families and friends out to vote and we are the ‘secret sauce’ to who gets elected to the White House, Congress, state and local elections.”
In addition to the bus tour, the campaign is being waged vigorously on social media using the primary hashtag #OurVoteMatters.
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