PURPOSE AND CORE VALUES
Black Voters Matter goal is to increase power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities. Effective voting allows a community to determine its own destiny. We agree with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said, “Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”
We seek to achieve our goals with the following 5 core beliefs in mind:
- The key to effective civic engagement and community power is understanding, respecting and supporting local infrastructure.
- Black Voters Matter not only on election day, but on the 364 days between election days as well. This means we must support individuals and organizations that are striving to obtain social justice throughout the year.
- Black Voters Matter *everywhere*, including rural counties and smaller cities/towns that are often ignored by candidates, elected officials, political parties and the media.
- In order for Black voters to matter, we must utilize authentic messaging which speaks to our issues, connects with our hopes and affirms our humanity.
- The leadership, talent and commitment demonstrated by Black women in particular must receive recognition and, more importantly, *investment* in order to flourish and multiply.
At BVM, we often explain to friends and stakeholders that we are NOT an electoral organization. We are first and foremost, a power building organization, and while we firmly believe that voting and electoral organizing is one way to build power, it is by no means the only way.Within the space of electoral organizing, we do not measure our success on electoral “wins”. We take this position not only because of our status as a 501c4 organization, but because philosophically we strongly believe that in order to truly build power, we must begin to redefine what a “win” is. The traditional approach of defining wins based on whether a particular person has won a certain office is far too limited given the obstacles that our communities face. Instead, we believe in centering a community-defined agenda and the
process by which a community seeks to implement that agenda. With this in mind, we seek to increase the capacity of community-based organizations working on a wide range of issues: from mass incarceration to gentrification, from health care to education and more.
Intersection of Political and Economic Power
We believe that independent political power requires independent economic power, and we are sensitive to the many forms of economic coercion which often discourage community members from fully participating in civic life. We also believe that political victories that lack a strong economic base are simply not sustainable. As we explore the intersection of political and economic power, we strive to uplift economic models and policies which support the equitable distribution of wealth rather than deepening economic disparities.