Over the past ten years, there has been a push for black women to be both empowered and encouraged to run for elective office and that has synergized and motivated black female voters. Now, an L.A.-based group, Black Men Voting, is trying to do the same with black males.
“When it comes to black men voting, we always have to be concerned,” stated Reverend Jewett L. Walker, Jr., political strategist and co-founder of Black Men Voting. “Right now, statewide African American males are slightly below the trend for other races and between now and election day, they have to be reminded that this is important.”
The group—established in 2020—had been in the midst of organizing efforts to encourage Black males to vote in the 2022 mid-terms when the recall came up and now they are laser-focused on that, joining the No on Recall efforts in Los Angeles County and working to inform Black men, particularly those ages 18 to 35, to defeat the Republican-led effort to oust Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.
“There is a lot at stake for Black voters in this recall election. Many of the gains that we have fought for over the years may go right out the window with a regressive Republican governor” said Walker. “We can expect cuts to education, a reduction in social welfare spending and a halt to police and criminal justice reform if Black men don’t vote in record numbers.”
Early ballot return results from political data firm Political Data Inc. (PDI) indicate that while Democrats are outpacing Republicans and no-party-preference voters, young voters and voters in the Latino, Asian and Black communities are lagging behind older and white voters in returning their recall ballots.
As of last week, PDI says that 22.9% of all registered African American voters in California have returned their ballots. While only 22.8% of all Black male voters have returned their ballots.
Attorney Dermot Givens, co-founder of Black Men Voting added, “We helped increase Black male voting during the elections of President Joe Biden, Vice-President Kamala Harris, and U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock. We will do the same for Governor Newsom. Our proven strategy of using social media along with text messaging and direct mail that specifically targets Black men works.”
Black Men Voting joins dozens of groups in Los Angeles County focused on Black voters who can be the deciding factor in an off-year special election that is expected to be significantly impacted by voter turnout.
“Black women have come up and have become a force. Now it’s time for black males to step up,” Walker adds. “2022 is important because it’s going to determine what happens in our state. The mayor’s race is going to be a big deal and we definitely want to have black men turn out for that, but with so little time left to vote before September 14, it’s important that Black men participate fully in this recall election.
“The overall goal, however, is to encourage black males to vote, period.”