The Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable (MS BWR) and Mississippi Women’s Economic Security Initiative (MWESI) recently coordinated rides to the polls and hosted phone banking centers to reach non-frequent black women voters across the Mississippi Delta as well as the west, central and coastal part of the state.
The voter outreach effort was coordinated with churches and child care centers in central Mississippi, the Mississippi Delta, north Mississippi and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The effort is part of a national movement being spearheaded by the National UNITY ’18 Black Voting & Power Building Campaign, a non-partisan black women-led and focused initiative of the National Coalition of Black Women’s Roundtable.
The group said organizing the Black vote will be key to shifting political power nationally and in states across the country, including Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the DC/MD/VA Metro area. Simultaneously, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation Black Youth Vote is also leading the Unity ’18 Campaign’s “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV) and voter protection efforts focused on millennials and Generation Z.
Cassandra Welchlin, MS-BWR lead organizer and co-convener, said it more critical than ever to leverage the power of black women voters and support their collective leadership for the mid-term elections.
“Mississippi has the highest voter turnout among black women in the country during presidential elections,” said Welchlin, also co-founder and director for MWESI. “MS BWR’s goal is to increase the voter turnout for black women in every election because every election matters. Historically, black women have always exercised their voice at the voting booth and led change in their community. Leveraging the power of the sister vote centers black women’s leadership and our community as well.”
UNITY ’18 is phase one of a four-year campaign that includes developing and organizing a long-term Black political and economic power-building strategy that includes the 2018 Midterm Election Cycle, 2019 Election Cycle, 2020 Presidential Election, 2020 Decennial Census and the 2021 Redistricting Fair Representation Process that will determine the balance of political power for the next decade and beyond.
In 2018, there are key elections that will impact the balance of political power – with the election of 435 members of the U.S. House of Representative, 33 U.S. Senators, 36 governors, 87 of the 99 state legislative chambers and 39 certified statewide ballot initiatives, including Amendment 4 in Florida that restores the right to vote for over 1.6 million Floridians with prior felony convictions upon completion of their sentences, and many local races as well.
Melanie L. Campbell, President & CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and National Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable, shares, “Black women are leading the way across the country to leverage our power at the ballot box. We believe 2018 is the year of the woman that is centered in women of color. The NCBCP’s Unity ’18 Campaign is Black women-led and we have partnered with over 60 national and state-based organizations and networks. Black women voters are not only the ‘secret sauce’ and most reliable vote for progressive candidates to win: we are leaders of many of our civil rights, women’s rights, social justice and human rights organizations.”
Campbell further states, “NOW is the time for Black women to unapologetically seize our political power and raise our collective voices to demand that candidates running for any office address our issues—including the unprecedented rollback of civil rights, criminal justice reform, affordable health care, environmental justice, gender and reproductive justice, affordable housing, immigration reform, workers’ rights, human rights and other safety net policies that are under attack by the current presidential administration and Congress. These issues and others have communities of color and poor communities literally fighting for their lives.”
For more information, contact Cassandra Welchlin, lead organizer & co-convener, MS BWR at (601) 750-8388.