Harvey B. Gantt Center hosts conversations to get more Black voters to be politically engaged

Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 11:36 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Serious conversations about how to bring Black voters to the election polls this November is happening at the Harvey B. Gantt Center. The museum is kicking off its voting campaign with Election Day only 56 days away.

This conversation isn’t about getting the Black community to vote for a certain person.

It’s about getting people to go out and vote, and for them to understand why they’re voting, and to realize the work for voters shouldn’t stop after Election Day.

Voting isn’t just about checking a box. It’s about making sure the person you vote for supports your beliefs.

Campaign commercials are sometimes very catchy and creative, but Michael Dickerson, the director of elections for Mecklenburg County says you have to see through the smoke and mirrors from any political ad.

“If you watch the campaign commercials, the other person is always an ogre and the worst person in the world. It’s you that has to get out and really do your homework,” said Dickerson.

This conversation hosted by the Harvey B Gantt Center is specifically targeted for Black voters because Black people didn’t always have the right to vote. There’s also a decrease in political engagement from many black voters after Election Day is over.

Danielle Brown, who is the Black Voters Matter NC State coordinator, says it’s time for voters to hold politicians accountable. She believes voters should be keeping up with what politicians are doing after election day to make sure they are making good on their promises, especially in local offices.

“It’s okay for me to knock on my Mayor’s door when something ain’t right. It’s okay for me to knock on my congressman’s door when something’s not right. Most of the time they’re our neighbors. We sometimes put them on this pedal stool when they really shouldn’t be because again, you work for me,” said Brown.

If you think your vote doesn’t matter. Dr. Jennifer Dixon-McKnight, a History Professor at Winthrop University, wants you to think again.

She says if that’s the case, politicians and political organizations wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars trying to gain your trust and ultimately your vote.

“If the vote wasn’t important, you would have two sides focused on you,” said Dr. Dixon-McKnight.

There was also talks about voting early and volunteering to work at a polling place. Their hope is that voters get more involved in every way.

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