Happy Juneteenth! Today is our Independence Day! A day to celebrate and reflect.
The Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in the United States on January 1, 1863, but it was not until June 19, 1865, two and a half years later, that word reached Galveston, Texas that slavery had been abolished.
While this country has come a long way since June 1865, the work to ensure that Black people can exercise our full rights as citizens to shape this democracy to its fullest potential still remains.
That’s why today we are proud to announce our partnership with 12 Black-led organizations across the country and our national partners, Black Progressive Action Coalition (BPAC) and BlackPAC, to launch Black Citizenship In Action.
Over the next two years in states across the country, from Michigan to California and from Louisiana to Ohio, local partners like The Equity Alliance will hold local events that deepen our community’s shared understanding of our past and present, our rights as citizens, sharpen our analysis of the political landscape in which we are operating, and collectively develop winning strategies to demand a country that values our lives and strives toward justice and equality.
Yesterday, the voters of Alabama voted on the right side of history, electing Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate in what was a controversial race against an accused pedophile and bigot, Roy Moore. In a staunchly conservative state, the outcome was far from decisive and was contingent on whether African-American voters in the Black Belt would turn out to vote. Indeed, they came out in record numbers since 2012 with 98% of Black women and 93% of Black men going for Doug Jones. Black voters spoke collectively in a resounding voice to reject systemic oppression and changed the course of history. The nation witnessed that Black Votes Matter.
Worth noting is the significant role that Latino men and women played in giving Jones the extra boost over the finish line.
It is clear that people of color made a difference.
Black voters, particularly Black women, have demonstrated loyalty to the Democratic Party for many years, and we are now witnessing the power of courting this demographic in elections. It’s time to stop taking the Black vote for granted. The Democratic Party owes Black voters in Alabama a HUGE thank you.
Doug Jones has a long history with the black community that motivated voters, given his work as a federal prosecutor who successfully took down two members of the Ku Klux Klan for the notorious 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four black girls. Deep engagement, long relationships, and lots of trust with black and brown voters is what should gain our vote.
Let this be a lesson to Tennessee politicians that people of color hold the keys to winning any election. Also, let this be a lesson to Black voters in Nashville: when we show up to the polls, we win elections!
And remember: our responsibility as informed and engaged citizens does not end at the voting booth. Voting is just the first step. Holding our elected officials accountable while in office is where the real victory is won.
The Equity Alliance proactively advocates for African Americans and other communities of color to have a fair and just opportunity at realizing the American dream. We are a Nashville-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization that seeks to equip citizens with tools and strategies to engage in the civic process and empower them to take action on issues affecting their daily lives. Donate online.