We've grown accustomed to seeing historical images of voting lines stretching entire city blocks from the Civil Rights Era. But these images don't live in the past, they still exist today. In 2008, lines like the one pictured here, dense with people of color, could be seen in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and in many other places across the country where Black voters turned out in record numbers to participate.
This photo was taken on Election Day in 2008 at a polling place in Norfolk, VA where some Black folks waited in line for hours to cast their ballot in a powerful reminder of the deep value Black political participation has in our communities.
Voting rights are the root through which all other rights are derived and equal access to the polls allows us to assert our voices on the broad array of issues we care about— from mobilizing to stop the American Legislative Exchange Council from dispersing bills that devastate Black communities; to rallying to bring Trayvon Martin's killer to justice and even as we respond to race-baiting this election season— we do it all against the backdrop of voting rights.
The notion that Black folks can (and will) hold officials accountable for the policies that impact our lives is a central vein in the work that we do here at ColorOfChange.
So far, we've seen that right-wing officials have partnered with major corporations to limit early voting, create residency restrictions, game the electoral college, and increase voter ID requirements. Factions have always feared the voting power of minority groups, but the fear of this demographic shift and what that means for political representation has become palpable. That is, in part, why we launched vote.colorofchange.org— to demonstrate what Black folks and our allies can do when they get organized and get connected with one another.
From now until Election Day, we'll be equipping you with all you need to know to get registered and vote. Are you sure you're ready? Have you moved? Changed your name? Are you a student out of state? Have you been inactive for a while? Changed your party affiliation? Many legitimate voters are finding themselves unjustly purged from the voter rolls. But, fear not— our voter registration tool makes it easy to see where you stand, no matter where you live.
Check it out here.
In the lead up to Election Day we're also looking to hear from you about your life, your community and voting. Go to our Report on the Race page and upload a photo, share a story, a memory, an article, a video, anything.
So much of the voting process is about creating the type of community you want to see. Share your vision here with your ColorOfChange community and let us know what voting means to you.