Black women are a powerful voting force, more powerful than any other race and gender group in America. In 2008, black women made history when they overwhelmingly voted Democratic. In 2012, again black women voted at a higher rate than any other group across gender, race, and ethnicity, which ultimately played a primary role in President Obama‚Äôs re-election.
Black women are not just voting, but they‚Äôre encouraging other people, of all races and gender to vote and promoting legislation to positively impact communities. With election season right around the corner, there are many organizations registering people to vote. One of those organizations is Black Girls Vote, Inc. Black Girls Vote (BGV), Inc. is a grassroots, nonpartisan organization created to represent the national and international concerns of women of color. This nonpartisan organization is dedicated to using their collective voice to transform areas where bias has the most profound impact on the lives of black women.
Not only does the organization register voters and host educational events on statewide elections, Black Girls Vote also create resources such as MISSinformation”: Myths about Voting Laws, “Get in”FORMATION”: How can I get involved? And “Who are we voting for?‚Äù to ensure Maryland residents are well-informed on voting.
Founded by Nykidra ‚ÄúNyki‚Äù Robinson, a Baltimore native in response to the on-going issues in her hometown, which include murder, poverty, injustice, despair, she launched BGV Inc. on November 30, 2015. The launch date is special as it is Shirley Chisholm‚Äôs birthday, the first African American women elected to Congress. This nonpartisan, civic engagement organization launched at Western High School‚Äîthe oldest, all-female school in Baltimore City.
BGV‚Äôs 2016-2017 legislative and fiscal priorities for Baltimore include:
- A 3-year phase-in program for pre-kindergarten for all students.
- A pilot grant program to assist historically black colleges and universities in Baltimore City.
- Restoration and funding $30 million annually Police Athletic League (PAL) and recreational centers.
- Implementation of ‚ÄúBuddy Patrol‚Äù to promote positive relationships between students and the police.
- An ‚ÄúAdult Works Program‚Äù to actively inform working-aged adults of employment opportunities available to them.
- $1 million per year fund for black female-owned and small businesses for infrastructure needs.
Continuation of programs that provide property tax and water bill relief to keep people in their homes.
- Implementation of a program in Baltimore City schools, partnering with fresh food businesses to distribute fresh fruits and vegetables twice a week in schools.
- A ‚ÄúSenior-to-Students‚Äù mentorship initiative to encourage relationship building amongst Baltimore‚Äôs youth and older adults.
On March 21, 2016, BGV held a Mayoral Job Interview and Expo at The Baltimore Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland, hosted by TV & Radio personality and socio-political activist, Jeff Johnson.
‚ÄúBaltimore City is a big business with a $3.2 billion operating budget. Therefore, residents are interviewing the next CEO of their city. Remember, we are the employer and the Mayor is our employee. Let’s let mayoral candidates hear our concerns,‚Äù said Tamyra Garcia, President of Policy.
‚ÄúEvery day black girls vote on something that matters to them, whether it‚Äôs a contestant on a television show, a photograph of the cutest baby or for a grant that‚Äôs being awarded to a non-profit organization or political candidate. Not only do we vote consistently. We have voted more than any other group‚Äù she added.
During the 2011 Baltimore City Mayoral Election, nearly 60% of eligible voters were women, but only half of those women voted. BGV’s call to action was:
- Get more women registered to vote.
- Ensure they make it to the polls.
- Focus on our young people.
- Promote the early voting option we have in Baltimore.
BGV, Inc. understands that our vote is our voice. The things that we are not content with can only change when we participate in the voting process. To stay connected to policy BGV, Inc. is passionate about, use and share the hashtag #SheWillVote, a blended effort of internet outreach and on the ground advocacy to engage women to vote.
BGV, Inc. will host a Circuit Court Judges‚Äô Interview and Expo on Monday, April 4, 2016. It will be a 4 hour long event to determine the next six judges who voters of Baltimore City want to represent them in The Circuit Court for Baltimore City. There will be 2 hours of Q&A focused on the function and role of the Circuit Court; victimization of poor, black people more so than any other group; bail and sentencing guideline reforms; and so forth.
The hope is that the voting population in attendance, especially the young adults voting for the first time, will leave educated and motivated to vote more than ever before.
-Danyelle R. Carter
Girl Museum Inc.