For the Black community, November counts as a watershed moment, says NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.
“If we fail to vote in numbers respective to our actual political power, future generations will suffer for our apathy,” Johnson said in a passionate op-ed for BlackPressUSA.com, the newswire for the 220 Black-owned newspapers and media companies around the nation, including The Washington Informer. “We don’t have to tell our people how to vote, only that we must vote as if our lives and our children’s lives depend on it. Because it does.
“The NAACP has decided to fight back and we ask you to join us by using your ballot as the weapon of choice,” Johnson said. “We ask you to visit NAACP.org to download and share resources to help those you know get registered and mobilized to vote. We are asking you to reach out to five people in your personal or social networks and bring them with you to the polls. If you understand the importance of this year’s elections, we know that you will sound the alarm, connect with others, and express your power by casting your vote.”
The plea comes as many pundits and political watchers are predicting a “blue wave” in November with the expectation that Democrats could win back the U.S. House and possibly the Senate.
The election could also count as historic with African-Americans Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams running for governor of Florida and Georgia, respectively, and other notable Black candidates seeking to gain office.
Recognizing the importance of this year’s midterms, former President Barack Obama announced a second wave of endorsements where he’s backing more than 200 Democrats nationwide including Gillum, Abrams and Massachusetts House candidate Ayanna Pressley.
“The Democratic Party has always made the biggest difference in the lives of the American people when we lead with conviction, principle, and bold, new ideas,” Obama said in a statement. “Our incredible array of candidates up and down the ticket, all across the country, make up a movement of citizens who are younger, more diverse, more female than ever before. They’re Americans who aren’t just running against something, but for something. They’re running to expand opportunity and restore the honor and compassion that should be the essence of public service.”
In this, the second round of endorsements, Obama focused on close races in which his support could make a meaningful difference; state legislative and/or statewide races that are redistricting priorities; Obama campaign and administration alumni who have been inspired to run for office; and building a pipeline of diverse talent and elevating the next generation of leaders within the Democratic party.
He said he’s committed to using his unique standing to support Democrats up and down the ballot in 2018.
The 260 endorsements he announced built upon his initial round of 81 midterm endorsements that he issued in August and several campaign appearances the former president has made over the last month.
“Voting is not just about politics, it’s about fighting police brutality, preserving civil rights, providing public education, protecting the right of workers to organize, and giving those who need healthcare access to it,” Johnson said.
“But most importantly, voting is about our ability to live as equals in a society that doesn’t always view us as such,” he said. “Stand strong and vote – our lives depend on it. See you at the polls.”