VoteRiders Celebrates Black History Month

By Sylvester Johnson III – VoteRiders National Volunteer Manager & Georgia Voter ID Coalition Coordinator

Each year, Black History Month offers us countless opportunities to celebrate, mourn, reflect, honor, and re-evaluate. 

February is a time to recognize all that the trail-blazers of the past achieved and the great lengths we still have to go to ensure true equality.

However you’re spending this Black History Month, it’s important to keep voting rights at the center of the conversations we’re having with ourselves and with others.

Black Americans have always been on the forefront of our country’s fight for suffrage and the struggle for a truly multiracial democracy. And that continues today. 

During the 2022 Midterm elections, Black voter turnout dropped in several states including Georgia, Louisiana, and Wisconsin

There were many reasons voter turnout took a downfall. But it’s clear that a major factor was the wave of restrictive voting laws that were put in place following the 2020 election. 

Eleven U.S. states saw new and stricter voter ID laws go into effect between 2020 and 2022. We know these new laws, like those that came before them, disproportionately affect and disenfranchise Black voters

For a strong, functioning democracy to exist, every eligible voter must be heard.  

Whether you’re celebrating or reevaluating the state of our nation, striving for progress is crucial. Staying still is never an acceptable option. 

The life and legacy of John Lewis (who was born on February 21, 1940) is a blueprint for how we must continue forward. 

“Ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year,” the former U.S. representative and civil rights activist once said. “Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part.”

This Black History month, I am celebrating everything we have accomplished throughout our work at VoteRiders – and I am evaluating how our organization can continue to resist and rejoice as we move forward together. 

I hope you’ll join me.