Happy National Black Voter Day! Here’s What This Day Means to These 8 Young Black Voters

India Howeth

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September 17, 2020

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BET and the National Urban League, in coordination with other key Civil Rights organizations, have declared September 18, 2020 the first-ever National Black Voter Day. The day is meant to be a time to highlight tactics for Black citizens to overcome voter suppression and ensure that each of their votes are counted.

We asked these 8 climate activists and young Black voters – Saron Tewelde, Hakim Evans, Lisandra Morales, Amira McDuffie, Arielle Barbe, Mustafa Osman, Wehazit Mussie, and Andrea Mannin – what celebrating this day means to them and advice they have for first-time voters.

Here’s what they said:

1. Saron Tewelde, North Carolina

As a Black teen, this affects my climate and advocacy work because of the racial injustices shown in our Black community. The Black community has been looked down on when it comes to, specifically climate change. Black communities across the state live in polluted neighborhoods but the majority of time the pollution isn’t even created by the black community. I believe as a Black teen I need to speak out on the injustice and help create a better future for my Black community.

2. Hakim Evans, New York

National Black Voter Day means celebrating the voice we have in an age where censorship and suppression have taken hold. It is important to take joy in the rights we have and make use of it so they’re not lost or limited in the future.

3. Lisandra Morales, Florida

Being a Puerto Rican and Black pansexual woman allows me to better understand the intersectionality of oppression and have a broader perspective of how to take it down. My identity lets me participate in more dynamic conversations about the differences in experience among people and connect with them in more ways than I could with just one factor of my life. Because of who I am, I recognize the difference, analyze the space I occupy, seek other points of view, and show up for everyone’s struggles, and that has made all the difference in my activism.

4. Amira McDuffie, Ohio

My advice is to be informed before voting. Make sure to do research on the candidates and issues on the ballot in order to create an informed decision. Being an informed voter will benefit you and your community.

5. Arielle Barber, Wisconsin

Black Voter Day is extremely important to me because it is not only a telling of just how far we’ve come, but it is an important reminder of just how far we still have to go. Celebrating this day is vital in order to uplift Black voices and to remind us that our vote is important and is valued.

6. Mustafa Osman, Ohio

Celebrating national Black voter day is something that brings me joy and happiness from the fact that my ancestors where enslaved and now we have grown to the point where I and other Black people have a say in who runs our government is truly amazing. Our system still has its flaws, but we have come a far way.

7. Wehazit Mussie, North Carolina

This country was founded on discriminatory practices and racist ideals, as a result, Black people’s right to vote was stolen. Now that we have that right, it symbolizes freedom as well as the history of this country. It also means that we should advocate and make sure that everyone has this opportunity because there are many voter suppression practices preventing predominantly Black populations from voting.

8. Andrea Manning, Georgia

As a Black and neurodivergent activist, my climate activism is always intersects in those two areas first and foremost. When I’m organizing and advocating in different spaces, I am constantly conscious of how those two identities show up and contribute to the narrative present.

I’m glad there is a day purposed with bringing the Black community into the political conversation and amplifying our voices.

India Howeth

India Howeth

Social Media Intern

India joins ACE as a Social Media Intern based in Washington, D.C.  She is currently studying at American University for a B.A. in an Interdisciplinary Studies major of Communications, Legal Studies, Economics and Government with a minor in Arabic: her third language after English and Spanish.  

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