Efforts to protect and expand voting rights in North Carolina continue to gain strength. The plan by Black elected officials and a coalition of Black publishers to convene a series of voting rights forums has taken shape and is gaining more momentum. Our forums were originally designed to help address the need to protect and expand Black voters access to the ballot. A demand by Black elected officials and grassroots activist has led us to add an economic opportunity focus to our forums.
The First Congressional District’s Voter Rights Forum has been confirmed for Greenville, NC on Saturday January 9th 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. It will be held at The Greenville Terrace, BET Community Building, located at 120 Park Access Rd., Greeneville, NC 27834. We are happy to announce that our Greenville forum is being hosted by the Eastern North Carolina Civic Group (ENCCG) under the dynamic leadership of the Honorable Fred Yates. Our forums are free and open to the public.
The NC Black Elected Municipal Officials (NC BEMO) and the NC Association of Black County Officials (NCABCO) have joined The NC Caucus of Black School Board Members (NCCBSBM) and a coalition of Black publishers as co-sponsors of our forums. Participating Black publishers will continue to update our readers with agenda specifics and vision ideas as our planning continues to evolve.
We are analyzing the political landscape and identifying areas that need attention and shoring up. The combined memberships of NCCBSBM, NCABCO, and NC BEMO represents a coalition of more than 600 Black elected officials and an unprecedented opportunity for new and creative ways to address politics and economic opportunity.
As previously noted, while holding our forums, publishers will engage in messaging and outreach in order to ensure that all who wish to get involved with the task of protecting and expanding our voting rights will know how to get involved. Educating, organizing and mobilizing Black voters are inherent in our efforts to succeed in protecting our voting rights. Because we’re planning multiple forums leading up to the November 2016 General Elections, our leaders and communities will be able to engage in ongoing dialogues to plan and evaluate creative community engagement strategies.
We believe that the way we address the issue of protecting the voting rights of Blacks will go a long ways with efforts to bring economic equity to Black communities. The challenges to protect voting rights are the same as those we face in creating economic equity. Both challenges require ongoing interaction between all segments of our communities and the leadership of Black elected officials. We’ve found that fundamental to solving problems is our ability to accurately define them and to educate constituents to address them. Because Black elected officials represent the reservoir of political and economic empowerment potential of our communities, it is essential that they describe our strategic goals and objectives in these arenas and lead our efforts to achieve them.
NCABO members from Wake, Durham and Orange Counties are planning our Triangle Voter Rights Forum to help provide grassroots activist and elected officials with a another convenient location and opportunity to engage in our efforts of voter rights protection and the expansion of economic opportunity. We will update you with details as they become available.
It is important that our elected officials and their strategic allies and constituents be present at our forums. It is essential that they be a part of the strategy discussions that will be the basis of decisions that are made on community mobilization for the 2016 General Elections. According to Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg County “one of the most important responsibilities of Black elected officials, if not the most important responsibility, is to protect and expand Black voting rights.”
The Black publications that are presently supporting our efforts are The Fayetteville Press, County News, The Carolina Times, The Winston-Salem Chronicle, and Greater Diversity News. Please subscribe to and look to these publications for ongoing coverage as this project continues to evolve. Please share your ideas on what we can do to improve the project and our coverage.
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Peter Grear, Esq. writes for Greater Diversity News with a primary focus on political, social and economic justice. To support our efforts, to unite our politics and economics, please “Like” and follow us at http://www.facebook.com/greaterdiversitynews, “Share” our articles and post your ideas and comments on Facebook or at our websites http://www.GreaterDiversity.com. He is available for radio commentaries upon request. Follow Peter on twitter.com/yourrighttovote. Finally, please ask all of your Facebook “Friends” to like and follow our page. (December 31, 2015).