There is a group of Black women that is changing the face of Baltimore’s electorate in a push for more voter participation.
Non-partisan organization Black Girls Vote (BGV) is pushing for anyone eligible to vote—regardless of sex, race or age—through helping residents register and make it in time to the polls.
Founded by Nykidra “Nyki” Robinson earlier this summer after a man was murdered near her home. She argues that Baltimore’s sky-high homicide rates are a consequence of the area’s limited opportunities for residents. Robinson was motivated to get young Black women in particular to vote in local elections to improve schools, jobs and health care access.
In speaking with the Baltimore Sun, Robinson says: “It’s a new year. It’s time for new things. We can’t sit back and make excuses…Our vote is our voice. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a GED, or if you have a PhD, we’re all the same.”
BGV consists of 15 people (14 of them Black women) and views getting African American female voters to the polls as important because they are generally the most influential decision makers in their homes. As a result, the group feels it’s important to develop close relationships with the Black female voting population to inform them on candidates and policy nuances that can directly impact them and yield the change they want to see.
“Black women are the matriarchs of the family. When women move, the men will follow,” said Edward Clark II, the sole male member of BGV.
“We have a strong population of black women who vote, but it’s an older population,” Assistant Professor Nina Kasniunas of Goucher College said, citing exit polling. “The younger you are, the least likely you are to turn out to vote.”
BGV first kicked off at Baltimore’s Western High School for girls in November on Shirley Chisholm’s birthday, Chisholm being the first Black woman elected to Congress. Fifty women registered to vote on the first day.
Now Robinson’s operation is focusing its efforts on staying in touch with the people it has registered so far and on expanding it project for the 2016 election.
[SOURCE: Baltimore Sun]