Black voters showed up and showed out during the 2020 General Election. Organizers on the ground in our communities and beyond got us out to the polls, registered, and helped get our choices at the ballot box counted.
In the wake of record voter turnout, new laws have been put in place to slow the momentum in voter participation –– especially among Black people, people with low incomes and other marginalized groups.
The timing of the voting suppression laws comes just as midterm election season is upon us. And yes, it matters too. In addition to getting Congressional representatives in office, voters in some states may be gearing up to elect governors, mayors, school boards, city council members, district attorneys, the list at the local level really could go on and some of these positions have huge impacts on day to day lives.
To help keep the momentum and fight back against the new restrictive legislation, BET and the National Urban League teamed up for the second annual National Black Voter Day, recognized on the third Friday in September.
"As long as we have states that are able to suppress votes, we're going to need to counter the suppressive tactics that are used," Alex Rias, senior director for equitable justice initiatives at the National Urban League told BET.com.
"Over several generations and 56 years since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, we should be further along, but tactics have gotten more strategic and less obvious," Rias added.
National Black Voter Day is a day designated by the Congressional Black Caucus to fight back against the voter suppression that "continues to disproportionately impact communities of color," a Congressional resolution reads.
"National Black Voter Day is a grassroots effort to engage Black communities through education, canvassing, organizing, door-to-door leaf footing, power building, social and mainstream media to register, educate and mobilize people to vote and vote continuously," the resolution continues.
To participate, organizers of the day are encouraging people to check out Vote.org for more information on upcoming elections, changes to state laws that may impact registration deadlines, and more.
The goal of the day moves beyond representation in office, Rias said. It's about a variety of issues from education to immigration, healthcare, student debt, ending police brutality and halting the cycle of mass incarceration. Relieving our communities of targeted misinformation is also an issue organizers and advocates face.
Tackling those issues requires action on the ballot and beyond.
Check out more about National Black Voter Day here.