National voting rights organization mobilizes state partners across the country to increase voter engagement and bring awareness to oppressive bills and initiatives impacting Black communities ahead of local elections
GEORGIA — Today, Black Voters Matter (BVM) announced its 2023 We Won’t Black Down campaign and bus tour, building on last year’s efforts with a focus on mobilizing Black voters, young people, policymakers and faith-based leaders on local legislation and oppressive ballot initiatives taking shape across the South and Midwest that could have detrimental effects on Black communities this year. The organization will partner with both local and national grassroots groups to increase voter engagement and increase awareness on issues ranging from employment and education to Medicaid expansion, police accountability and the criminal justice system.
BVM announced that this year’s campaign is in response to the urgent state of affairs in 14 states including Georgia, Texas, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Ohio, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida and Alabama. As part of this year’s campaign launch, BVM will continue to work toward its mission of increasing power in historically under-resourced communities by hosting resource fairs, warrant clinics and capacity building trainings to help communities activate in response to voter concerns. BVM also plans to launch a reparations fund in three cities that will provide additional capacity building and research support for local task forces.
“Despite our recent successes in Arizona, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania over the past year, this voting rights battle is far from over. State legislators across the South are actively working to suppress the Black vote and silence Black voices because they know we are essential to winning elections,” said Cliff Albright, co-founder and executive director of Black Voters Matter. “The attacks we see today in states across the country call for a state of emergency as our fundamental rights to the ballot remain in jeopardy. Right-wing legislators have continued their movement to restrict, prevent and quiet the power of the Black vote in state and local elections which deeply impact voters’ ability to create change for their communities.”
“The fight for justice requires a 365-day approach,” said LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter. “And as we get closer to 2024, we must not let the ball drop in states where local elections are highly contentious and influential. There are several bills moving through state legislatures right now that impede the rights and freedoms of Black people and other people of color that must stop. At Black Voters Matter, we know that change happens locally which is why we’ve partnered with on-the-ground organizations to invest in grassroots efforts to push back against right-wing attacks in our public schools and pass important legislation on key issues like reproductive rights, criminal justice reform and financial equity. As a critical part of our mission, we will continue our commitment to Black voters to ensure our communities have equitable access to the ballot and to ensure investments are being made in communities to help overcome these oppressive legislative bills and initiatives.”
WHAT: In addition to voter engagement work, this year’s campaign will focus on several other issues and initiatives being led by BVM including: Sick & Tired, which focuses on Medicaid expansion, mental health, gun violence and Black maternal health; Take the Field, which seeks to inspire, train and engage students around urgent community issues; The Block is Hot, a program designed to mobilize rural communities for environmental justice, and Warrant Clinics, BVM’s program designed to help people eliminate their warrants due to misdemeanor offenses and traffic violations.
The bus tour will kick off in Michigan on Wednesday, May 24th.
WHEN & WHERE:
- Michigan Bus Tour (Wednesday, May 24th – Saturday, June 24th )
- Muskegon Heights
- Texas Bus Tour (Friday, June 2nd – Saturday, June 4th)
- Tennessee Bus Tour (Friday, June 9th)
- Georgia Bus Tour (Friday, May, 26th – Saturday, August 17th)
- Albany & Byromville
- Gwinnett County
- Cobb County
- Macon Bibb County
- North Carolina Bus Tour (Sunday, June 11th – Wednesday, June 14th)
- Chapel Hill
- Virginia Bus Tour (Thursday, June 15th)
- Pennsylvania Bus Tour (Friday, June 16th)
- Ohio (Wednesday, May 24th)
- Florida Bus Tour (Monday, June 19th – Friday, June 23rd)
- West Palm Beach
LEARN MORE: To view the full schedule of stops across all 14 states and learn more about the campaign and local events, please visit the website for the most up-to-date information.
Black Voters Matter, a 501c4, and Capacity Building Institute, a 501c3, are dedicated to expanding Black voter engagement and increasing progressive power through movement-building and engagement. Working with grassroots organizations, specifically in key states in the South, BVM seeks to increase voter registration and turnout, advocate for policies to expand voting rights/access, and help develop infrastructure where little or none exists to support a power-building movement that keeps Black voters and their issues at the forefront of our election process. For more information, please visit https://www.blackvotersmatterfund.org/