An Open Letter to Voters: Why Georgia Is Important To Black America

An Open Letter to Voters: Why Georgia Is Important To Black America
Chris B. Bennett, Seattle Medium
Hiram Jackson, Michigan Chronicle
Larry Lee, The Sacramento Observer
Sonny Messiah Jiles, Houston Defender
Dr. Frances M. Draper, AFRO American
Denise Rolark Barnes, The Washington Informer
Dr. Donald Suggs, St. Louis American
Elinor Tatum, New York Amsterdam News
Janis Ware Washington, The Atlanta Voice
Patrick Washington, The Dallas Weekly

Black voters across the country turned out in unprecedented numbers with purpose and passion for the Nov. 3 General Election. Their overwhelming participation in one of the nation’s most important elections proved that Black votes count and Black voters matter.

We still have unfinished business, as all eyes are now on Georgia, where the results of a much anticipated and hotly contested Jan. 5 election runoff will impact the plight of African Americans and African American communities throughout the country. At the center of political discussions are the issues of socioeconomic justice, police reform, inclusion, empowerment and civil rights.

Despite well-documented attempts to suppress the Black Vote, the Black Press, along with national civil rights organizations and local grassroots efforts, fought to make sure voters were armed with the information necessary to make sure their ballots were cast and counted. This resulted in the largest voter turnout of Black people in a presidential election in the history of this country.

However, the job of the Black Press and Black voters is not over. As publishers of nine of the nation’s leading Black newspapers – The Baltimore AFRO, Dallas Weekly, Houston Defender, Michigan Chronicle, New York Amsterdam News, Sacramento Observer, Seattle Medium, St. Louis American and The Washington Informer – we are compelled to support our fellow publishers of Atlanta’s Black newspaper, The Atlanta Voice, in urging all Georgian’s – particularly Black voters – to stay engaged and to vote in the runoff election.

Georgia’s native son Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., reminds us that, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” This is our call to action. Voters in Georgia cannot be silent: VOTE on Jan. 5 because what happens in Georgia will impact everyone in the U.S. and beyond, regardless of race, creed, color, religion or sexual orientation.

We must finish the fight in Georgia. The stakes are high and impact all of us. We need Georgians to elect leaders that will put Americans back to work, bolster small businesses to rebound from the effects of the pandemic, rescue families from evictions and foreclosures, provide appropriate PPE to frontline and essential workers, retain affordable healthcare, lower prescription drug costs and restore our country’s prominence in the world.

Your vote will make a difference.

How?

Early voting in Georgia began on Monday, Dec. 14 and ends on Friday, Jan. 1. Don’t delay, go to the polls and cast your vote.

For others across the country, remember it takes a village, and we all must do our part, including:

  • Contact friends and family members who live in Georgia and make sure they are aware of important voting dates and deadlines.
  • Encourage them to vote early and reach out to their extended network in Georgia to ensure they do the same.
  • Volunteer to assist phone banks and safely distribute literature throughout the community if you decide to visit.
  • Donate to non-partisan groups that have a strong history of voter engagement in Georgia.

We have the power to fight voter suppression, get souls to the polls, re-ignite the flame of our political clout in America and create a narrative that provides the foundation for African Americans to fully participate in all aspects of the American dream.

Georgia, we’re counting on you to let your voices be heard. Vote on Jan. 5. We know you will make us proud!

Word in Black is an reimaging of the BlackPress, a journey initially begun by 10 publishers of independently owned Black media companies.