By Nomsa C. Hampton
National voting rights organization Black Voters Matter (BVM) recently joined with local partners here in Ohio to mobilize Black voters around critical issues impacting midterm elections in the state. Currently, BVM’s “Blackest Bus in America” is on its We Won’t Black Down fall bus tour with plans to engage policymakers, faith-based leaders, Black influencers, and HBCU students across twelve (12) states leading up to the general election on November 8.
The organization’s “Blackest Bus in America” made stops in six cities including Toledo, Cleveland, Akron, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, and Wilberforce University, the nation’s oldest private HBCU, spreading a message of freedom through the ballot box with local partners, including The Ohio State Conference of the NAACP, Prince Hall Masons, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Coalition on Black Civic Participation, The Third District AME Church, Freedom BLOC, and New Covenant Believers’ Church.
The Soulfood GOTV rally at Wing Champs on Sharon Road rounded out the Ohio tour with over 150 people in attendance, including speakers Quentin Monroe, president of the Greater Cincinnati Action Network, David Whitehead of the Cincinnati NAACP, Mayor Brian Poole, Woodlawn Ohio, Community Activists Ozie Davis, Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Famer Iris Roley, Retired Metro Bus Driver Malcolm Timmons, Mayor of Lincoln Heights Ruby Kinsey- Munphrey, and Senior Citizen Activist Sandra Jones-Mitchell.
“We’ve seen the Black Voters Matter bus tour in the south getting out the vote. Today we welcome the bus to Cincinnati/Hamilton County, Ohio, because our issues are on the ballot. It doesn’t cost you a thing to vote, but it can cost you everything if you don’t vote.” says the Hamilton County Commissioner Alicia Reece and Co-Host of the Rally at the black-owned restaurant, Wing Champs.
“Black Votes Matter is more than a slogan; it requires us to take action, vote, and use our power,” says Dr. Steven Reece Sr., Past Grand Master of The Prince Hall Masons.
This three-day GOTV tour through Ohio included events and activities such as a banned book giveaway highlighting black authors with our partners African American Policy Forum and the Transformative Justice Coalition, a GOTV rally, a block party at Wilberforce University, a power panel discussion, daily canvassing, a Barbershop Talk with Black men, and a Soulfood GOTV in Cincinnati. This Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign helped raise awareness of the most pressing issues impacting local Black communities, engaged in on-the-ground GOTV mobilization efforts, and built community power by celebrating Black love and joy.