Op-Ed

The Power of the Black Vote – The Westside Gazette

Bobby Henry, Sr.

A Message From The Publisher

13Take wise men of understanding who are respected among your tribes, and I will make them heads over you.” Deuteronomy 1:13 (WEB)

By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.

According to a post on  www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenueBlack voters are a better indicator of success than winning in Iowa or other early primary states.”

The Westside Gazette  believes that every election is the “most crucial” in recent memory.

Sure enough, there are a number of gubernatorial elections and many statewide, county and local races that will be placed before voters.

We understand that ‘ALL’ politics are local; as an advocate and voice of reason to our loyal readership of Black voters for the last 49 years, we employ you to not take the Black Press for granted.

The race for Black voters is the most important key both Republicans and Democrats.

Both parties should not discount the powerful recent election results in which Black votes determined the outcome.

In order for candidates to win in November, they will need to improve voter engagement within the Black community, as well as increase voter registration and voter turnout within these communities. Contrary to popular belief, implementing a comprehensive strategy to address these critical benchmarks in the Black community is, oftentimes, the key factor for a successful campaign. To be victorious, you will have to actively engage and mobilize Black voters. Likewise, your win has the potential to energize your Party in other states and counties across the nation.

Black voters have swayed elections across the country. Any serious candidate should not take Black voters likely.

     The Westside Gazette understands what it means to create opportunities for candidates to get ‘up front and personal’ with targeted voter groups who have the power and will to determine their next elected representative.

Many candidates do not allocate substantial financial resources with Black-owned media outlets. As a result, many miss a key opportunity to establish a connection with Black voters, promote their platforms, and affirm their commitment to the Black community.

Declining investments (in time, money and access) in Black voter outreach have often been the make or break for many candidates. Campaigns investing in Black owned media explicitly state they do not stand a chance without the Black vote.

A Candidate’s message will have to be more than just anti-Republican or Democrat to ensure a record turnout in the next election. Black voters need to feel respected. They need to see that their community’s issues and concerns are being addressed in a meaningful way and investment in their businesses is not an afterthought.

“We didn’t exist in the early papers. We were never born, we didn’t get married, we didn’t die. We didn’t fight in any wars. We never participated in anything of scientific achievement. We were truly invisible, unless we committed a crime. But in the Black press, the Negro press, we did get married. They showed us our babies being born. They showed us graduating. They showed our Ph.D.’s.”–Vernon Jarrett, journalist

Black voters, we cannot sit idly by and watch all of the hard work of those before us be thrown out  like an uncast ballot; we’ve endured too much and been taken for granted for far too long to be ruled out as a “hanging chad and a murmur.”

“Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse and deprivation cannot be expected to find voice in a whisper,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his book Why We Can’t Wait. More than three hundred years later, the voice of the Black community, once a whisper, has become a thunderous roar through the power of voting.


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