Working to Fight Voter Suppression
A nonpartisan and community-centered movement reminiscent of the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights era is on a mission to help Black communities resist and overcome voter suppression during the 2022 midterm election and beyond.
The Young Black Lawyers’ Organizing Coalition – or YBLOC – said suppression and other tactics had threatened African Americans’ political power.
“YBLOC is mobilizing one of the most ambitious voter protection organizing campaigns in history because inclusive democracy hangs in the balance in November,” Abdul Dosunmu, YBLOC’s founder and chief strategist, said during an appearance on the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s live morning news broadcast, Let It Be Known.
“Our intention is to proactively ready Black voters to do what we have always done: fight the barriers of voter suppression and insist on our right to be heard.”
The coalition has launched a “Black Ballots, Black Futures 2002” voter protection and organizing campaign.
Dosunmu isn’t a stranger to politics and mobilizing.
An Obama administration appointee to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Dosunmu served as the department’s chief of staff advisor.
He also worked as a senior associate at Precision Strategies, a digital, data, communications, and campaign management firm founded by three pioneers of President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
A graduate of the University of Chicago, Dosunmu also helped develop strategic communications for progressive advocacy campaigns, foundations, and civic tech startups.
Dosunmu said more than 300 young Black lawyers and law students span Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas to host voter protection education sessions in partnership with Black community institutions voters know and trust.
He said the seven-state push would count among the most extensive Black-led voter education efforts to train Black voters to identify and resist voter suppression tactics to ensure their ballots are counted.
“These sessions aim to equip an estimated 60,000 Black voters with the information they need to protect their vote and help amplify this message in their communities,” Dosunmu stated.
The group has found success.
Earlier this year, YBLOC and a coalition of organizations representing the Black legal community launched “Pass Her the Gavel,” a letter-writing and public engagement campaign that supported a fair confirmation process for Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Brown Jackson earned confirmation to the high court in April.
Additionally, as part of the ongoing grassroots effort to protect and empower the Black electorate, YBLOC filed an amicus brief in a federal lawsuit that challenged Texas’s voter suppression law, Senate Bill 1.
The brief helped to outline how Senate Bill 1 harms Black voters and the civic organizations that serve them.
Further, in partnership with the Center for Civic Design, the organization recently conducted a focus group in Dallas to understand voter suppression laws’ impact on Black voters.
According to YBLOC, the findings from the focus group reveal that:
All participants had experienced difficulty voting in the past. This included long wait times, understaffed polling places, a lack of signage to identify polling places, and closed election centers.
Participants indicated that Texas’s State Bill 1 and similar voter suppression bills across the country had impacted Black voters’ trust in the election process. In addition, the focus group participants noted feelings of voter suppression, information deprivation, and concern about the increased criminalization of voter assistants.
Participants expressed an overall lack of information from state and local election officials. This included information about where and how they could cast their ballot and important election dates/deadlines.
“It is vital that our voter protection education efforts are community-informed and rooted in the concrete experiences of Black voters,” Dosunmu stated. “This focus group provided important data on voter suppression laws and tactics impact Black voters and further underscored that our democracy is at a precipice.”
Dosunmu added that YBLOC wants everyone involved in its efforts to fight voter suppression.
“We are calling on all young Black lawyers and law students to join our fight,” he stated.
October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com
As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.
Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.