After several intense months of voter registration and outreach efforts in Black communities throughout the South and the midwest, Black Voters Matter Fund’s co-founders Cliff Albright and LaTosha Brown offer the following statement in reaction to the news that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have secured their place as the next president and vice president of the United States:
During this unprecedented period in our country’s history with many people suffering from the impact of COVID-19, a rise in unemployment, and stark racial injustices in communities across the country, it is clear that America is long overdue for real change. And today we rejoice in knowing that change is coming.
For the past four years, Black voters have felt deeply the impact and growing threat of racial inequality, white supremacy and the weight of injustice all around us, but this election was never about one candidate or one party. It was always about realizing the collective power of Black voters to activate change in our communities. We stood in long lines, waited hours to vote, faced down agitators at the polls, and fought back against voter suppression locally and federally. And the message is clear: The power we have to control our own destiny cannot be denied. We Got The Power.
Black America did their part with record voter turnout from the urban sprawls of Los Angeles to the rural fields of Madison, Alabama. While we are 12 percent of the population, early reports show Black voters — of all ages and backgrounds – are a key constituency group and have played a critical role in saving a fragile democracy that hasn’t always saved us.
And it must be noted that Black women across the country helped to lead the way for America to be on the right side of history in this moment. We look forward to that leadership and insight continuing with Kamala Harris in the White House.
And while we know there’s much more work to do, we first wanted to pause and acknowledge all the hard work that has been accomplished this year by you.
So, thank you, Black voters for staying the course and getting the job done despite the obstacles that always seem to be in the way. Thank you for taking the time to exercise your full right as citizens of this country and for bringing family and friends along with you. You showed up and showed out for your country and democracy.
While on the road on the Blackest Bus in America, we saw you canvassing, calling, marching, and standing in your power to make sure you and others had the chance to cast your ballot. We were inspired by the strength of our community, and we praise your energy and your spirit.
As y’all know, Black people rarely have the time to take a breath before jumping back into the fray to fight the next battle. But we want to take the time to say: We hear you. We see you and we appreciate you. Thank you.
We must also thank our state partners. As we all know, real change happens locally in communities. That is where the work is done. That is where the people live. With your support, BVM’s We Got The Power campaign reached more than 15 million Black voters across the country, particularly in the South, sharing information, registering people to vote, and spreading love and joy wherever possible. Our mission together has been served but our work is not done.
As we look ahead, we urge everyone to keep these lessons in mind:
- Continue to raise your voice and be heard. Just as we’re making sure every vote is counted, we must continue to raise our voices against any injustice. This is what a true democracy requires.
- Without real election reform, our fragile democracy will continue to weaken. We must stop normalizing long voting lines and demand fair elections. The waiting time for Black voters to cast their ballot far exceeded those living in white communities in certain pockets in the country. That is unacceptable and a form of voter suppression.
- Hold your local officials and policymakers accountable. A real democracy demands fair policies and true representation from local council offices to the Capitol. And Black communities all over this country, but particularly in the South, deserve better. Our rights will not be denied.
- A new South is rising. As more and more Black voters engage, we are seeing the margins narrowing and the tide turning. Local elections play an integral role in our communities. Keep your eye on them and turnout like you did this year to vote.
This moment is a significant milestone in our nation’s history in what has been a long and exhausting journey. Yes, now is the time to re-charge and re-set, to take stock and allow ourselves some peace and joy. Tomorrow, we rise again and get back to work to make sure justice is served. Black voters are galvanized and we are ready.”
Can’t stop, won’t stop!
Cliff and LaTosha