Elaine H. Black
As people of color our biggest challenge is believing that our vote will count. In our journey many of us have come to believe that we do not count. The deck is already lined up against us and we cannot win.
Believe in you! Know that you can make a difference in your life. Self-empowerment is the key to our growth, development and quality of life. Believe and know that your vote makes the difference in who wins any election!
Our family and friends before us understood that each vote did count. That is why they worked so hard to get the right to vote. Your vote will be counted. No one will be able to take that away from you. But you must vote.
When you vote it is the only time when your vote carries the same weight as a millionaire’s vote. That is why the millionaire does not want you to vote. It is important that you protect your right by making sure you are registered to vote, number one. If you vote by mail, make sure you complete the application and sign the envelope. Remember you can always take that envelope to an Early Voting site, and cast your ballot.
If you vote on Election Day, be prepared and have your identiﬁcation with you, and time! When you look at the ballot, vote for people that you feel will “improve the quality of your life,” and if you vote for them then you can come back to them and hold them accountable for the services that they are providing you, your family, your neighborhood and our country.
Elaine H. Black, is president/CEO of the Liberty City Trust in Miami, committed to community self-employment.
Edith C. Bush
The continued systemic racism, voting oppression and postal service interference/delays for the upcoming election are unacceptable. This dictatorship controlled administration will destroy
America’s democracy. The African American community and others must unite and ﬁght for what is right. Too many people fought and died for the right to vote. Volunteer, make calls and encourage others to vote. We must vote so that our government will be of the people, for the people and by the people. in God we must trust. For in Him we move and have our being. Edith C. Bush, a voting precinct leader, is executive director of the Martin Luther King Coordinating Committee in West Palm Beach.
Maria Christine Cole
Almost hourly I am confronted by another threat, another outrage, and another alarm is set off in this all-engulﬁng, 12-alarm, all-consuming ﬁre. We are collectively numb and weary. There can be no more chaos that shocks us. There cannot be another act of genocide, such as the forced sterilization of women seeking refuge held in detention by ICE. There cannot be another violation of human rights, continually executed by government actors. There cannot be any more outrage to state murder and violence against Black people, the inﬁrmed, indigenous and brown people of this country that can ﬁnally compel all of us to action. We are in the late stage of collapse. It is not enough to hide behind our gates and our closed circles. It is not enough to look the other way. Our greatest challenge of this election is the recognition that we are all inextricably linked and bonded together as a nation. Our humanity and our civility as a nation, is tied to our neighbors – our most vulnerable neighbors. And to our more than 200,000 neighbors and loved ones who have died through negligence and COVID-19.
Regardless of our faith tradition or absent one, we are called to a higher purpose. We are not voting for candidates, nor are we voting for parties. We are voting for our future. We are voting for our children, and our neighbor’s children. We are literally voting for the right to protest and express our outrage and challenge our government to bold change that serves all of us. The challenge we face is our complete loss of faith in our government to act justly for all of us – and in particular for Black people. We can only ﬁnd our way back from the brink by our belief in one another. Our only resolution is in one another. We must vote Nov. 3, 2020 and take up the protest and express our outrage the very next moment. We must band together now and through this election because the alternative means that no one will be left to grieve and mourn the lost. There will be no more opportunity to protest and push for justice. We must act now – together, or any chance may be lost forever.
Maria Christine Cole, DMD, Juno Beach, FL
For decades it has been obvious that in myriad spheres of life, America should follow the lead of African American women.
In the political arena in particular they have bolstered the nation’s democracy by helping lead the ﬁght for voting rights – and then voting as if life itself depended on it. In this and countless other ways they have served as the conscience of their country.
Example: African American women voted 94 percent against the current occupant of the White House. And for four years the message to America from many of them has been: “We tried to tell you.”
African American women voters consistently have come down on the right side of history. With America facing its most fateful moment yet, we asked some of South Florida’s most notable: What is the most signiﬁcant concern facing America regarding the Nov. 3 elections? How can it be resolved? In other words…
WHAT MUST BE DONE? TRUST THEM TO KNOW
Audrey M. Edmonson
This year and as equally important as years past, voting is literally paramount to our existence. There are many issues that are at stake, not only on the national level, but also on state and local levels. We must treat voting as a fundamental right that has major implications if not exercised. Our nation is in the middle of a health crisis, the Supreme Court has a crucial vacancy, there is civil unrest and blatant racism in our country and the security of voting ballots is at risk. Notwithstanding, voting should be exciting. Voting should give us hope in a democracy. Voting should level the playing ﬁeld. But we will only realize the former by exercising our right to vote.
Audrey M. Edmonson, District 3, is Chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Commission.
Dr. Jean Landfair Enright
With the Nov. 3 presidential election rapidly approaching, it is imperative that Black women, in particular, are cognizant of the highly negative, nationwide repercussions if Trump wins this election. We are at a crossroads in the history of Black America with this election. Virtually everything that Blacks and Whites who have united have fought for from slavery to the present day is on the ballot: racism, civil rights, equal rights, the Affordable Care Act, Social Security, Black Lives Matter, police reform, immigration, and minimum wage increase, just to name a few. While these important issues affect all Americans, they disproportionately affect the survival of Blacks and all minorities in this county, this state and nationwide, and this critical fact is on the line in this presidential election. Nevertheless, this historically consequential election can be a lifeline for all Americans if Joe Biden is victorious.
The most lethal weapon in the Black political community is our Black women. All Black women must work to ensure that every Black American who is eligible to vote, registers and then follows up to make sure they vote on Nov. 3. Just 12 years ago, Black women came out in droves, voting in key battleground states that put Obama over the top. Yes, we Black women made it happen then and we can make it happen again with Joe Biden, and we will.
Dr. Jean Landfair Enright, Port of Palm Beach commissioner, Riviera Beach.
Addie L. Greene
June 9, 1964 was known as “Bloody Tuesday” in Tuscaloosa, Ala., because on that day a lot of Black blood was shed in the streets in the ﬁght for civil rights. In 1965, Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law one of the most historic pieces of civil rights legislation: the Voting Rights Act. For Nov. 3, 2020, President Trump has deliberately caused some signiﬁcant challenges regarding the election – especially being able to cast our ballots at the ballot box – and made the name “Barack Obama” and the word “hate” synonymous!
Today, as I reminisce while watching “The Black Lives Matter Movement” on television, these young students of all hues remind me of my college days during the ’60s when Blacks and Whites braved dogs, water hoses and white police ofﬁcers to gain the right to vote, the right to sit on the front seat of the Greyhound Bus, or to run for a political ofﬁce. The words “hatred” and “systematic racism” have become household words because of the characteristics of President Donald Trump. Also, his behavior and opinions are approved by many Whites, Black and Brown political leaders who write and vote for the laws that govern our nation! Some people are influenced by his actions, his words and most importantly his deeds! He never held a political ofﬁce before becoming the president, he is disrespectful, rich and evil, yet his actions are still acceptable because he is POTUS! Would this be the same if he was President Barack Obama?
Racial inequality and division in our communities are the responsibility of our government leaders, no matter what ethnicity or party afﬁliation. Palm Beach County has 36 Black elected ofﬁcials, more than any of Florida’s 67 counties. Therefore, the county should have the highest percentage of registered voters of color in the history of Florida for the Nov. 3 election. Every elected ofﬁcial should mentor or train anyone interested in government or want to become a community leader. How else are we going to learn the value of the vote?
Addie L. Greene, a longtime educator, and former Town of Mangonia Park councilwoman, vice mayor and mayor, also was the ﬁrst Black woman to represent now District 88 in the Florida Legislature, and second Black woman to serve as a Palm Beach County commissioner.
“Let’s face it, African American women have developed a powerful ground game. We are the game changers. Despite the polarizing politics and policies, We Cannot Stop Now!”
Dr. Afrah J. Hamin
Who would argue that the rules of politics were not written by men for men? Now that women, namely African American women, have entered the political arena there is a new mindset developing across America. No longer are African American women, or minority women, accepting the traditional approach to politics being governed by men. From my limited viewing plane, I have observed that African American women have gradually adopted a conscious mindset, an equality mindset. The conscious mindset has helped to propel the creation of the newly adopted culture of engagement.
Traditionally, African American women have always been conscious of their strengths and values. One such strength is using “Our Own Voice.” The powers to be, the leaders of the various political organizations, are taken aback when African American women display their strengths. Our gradual inﬁltration of organizations such as The League of Women Voters, Florida Mobilization to Get Out the Vote, and the New Florida Majority are just a few networks used to display our uniqueness. This uniqueness stems from African American women having the ability to expand upon their leadership qualities while helping others become conscious of the unconscious biases that exist.
For over 100 years, African American women have educated the masses. Our mere presence illuminates a consciousness of where we are and what path we must trod. Thinking differently is what is needed for the rejuvenation of civic engagement. Using our human networks for engaging and working together on issues and concerns that we care about can only elevate the Africa American women’s role of leadership. Let’s face it, African American women have developed a powerful ground game. We are the game changers. Despite the polarizing politics and policies, We Cannot Stop Now!
Dr. Afrah J. Hamin is vice president of The International League of Muslim Women, Inc., South Florida Chapter, Miami.
Rebecca (Becky) Jones
I must say that America would not be in this predicament if the voters had followed the lead of Black women in 2016! Black women are not easily hoodwinked. We were not deceived by the character that the Republican Party was pushing in the last
election. And after four years Trump has shown us his real persona. We cannot endorse his candidacy.
The biggest challenge we have with this upcoming election is voter suppression, perpetrated by Trump and the Republican minions. We must dispel and counteract all the misinformation that is being broadcast and posted. The Democratic Party and candidates must air and post the Truth utilizing minority and urban media outlets. We must make sure that all eligible voters are registered. Once registered we must have a progressive and creative Get Out 2Vote Campaign that caters to voters under 40. Our Vote is our Power!
Rebecca (Becky) Jones, president of the Carlton B. Moore Freedom Foundation, is a former human resources director for the City of North Miami.
Nov. 3, like any other day in America for Black people, represents the etched crossroad of survival or death; therefore true leadership requires a fundamental understanding of all human condition. I put forth the notion that the contemplation of political candidates, for Black people, is secondary to access to America’s assets that makes the voting process so critical. It is imperative that every Black person, at every income level, understands their personal agenda. Those in the know, take for granted that some Black people do not actually understand how the federal, state, and local government directly impact their life, do not understand the importance nor the nuances. Leaders must increase their engagement into spaces that are uncomfortable for them.
Nov. 3 must represent Black people’s true place in the American democracy rather than a celebration of a candidate. I want the most common Black folk to celebrate collective, legislative change being passed, or policy reversal, or modiﬁcation of a tax code. The complexity of government requires a Black voter, any voter, create a plan to access those American assets that are most beneﬁcial to them and then carefully select brave leaders to execute their agenda. My hope is that the creative talent and ingenuity that has cultivated hip-hop – the directness of a lyric, the illusion of wealth … the drip – is used to infect a new wave of knowledge for Black people to prioritize their political agenda.
Albeit Nov. 3 is critical, I will still be vigilant on Nov. 4, because I remain at that crossroads of survival and death, like every other Black American. I will ﬁnd a way to survive irrespective of who’s in ofﬁce and will remain hopeful that America will select a new leader who will execute my Black agenda.
Jeanette Marshall is project director for Healthier Neighbor, Riviera Beach.
“We are experiencing a great reckoning in America and around the world. I believe it is a once in a generation shift fueled by the social media, coronavirus, and isolation. People are in a diﬀerent state of mind. As the president keeps exclaiming let’s get back to normal, I say normal wasn’t so good for many Americans.”
We are experiencing a great reckoning in America and around the world. I believe it is a once in a generation shift fueled by the social media, coronavirus, and isolation. People are in a different state of mind. As the president keeps exclaiming let’s get back to normal, I say normal wasn’t so good for many Americans. In the play “Hamilton,” they said, “rise up.” People are rising up but the window is closing. White America, our allies, are losing interest in Black Lives Matter. I get it, fighting racism in all its forms is exhausting. Americans now see the inequality in schooling, healthcare, employment, home ownership and in criminal justice. Income inequality, discussed since the last recession, is widening. Many Americans must work two and even three jobs in order to make ends meet. This is immoral in the greatest nation in the world. Why don’t the poor in Appalachia and in the bayous of Louisiana see it? The system was established to pit us against one another. Their poverty is generational too. It’s racism, America’s original sin. Structural racism only works if we are pitted against one another, white, brown, and black. We must rise up in a coalition of interconnected needs. Americans must decide the necessary steps to shape our collective futures. We are interconnected by lack of healthcare, lack of decent jobs paying a living wage, lack of affordable housing, lack of college affordability. America needs to to give hope to the hopeless. The promise to be a shining beacon on a hill, must be realized in providing equality for all. Coalitions are building; people are rising up to learn, inform, set policy. Until this work is done, America will remain divided and the great promise will remain unfulfilled.
Rosalind Murray is a resident of Boynton Beach.
“We must organize and encourage everyone we know to vote. All elections are important but the 2020 election can either make or break this country and roll back gains that have been made over the past years.”
Nov. 3, 2020 is probably the most signiﬁcant and important date we will encounter in many years. The issues we have had to deal with in the past are now pushed to the surface. We can now all see the terrible things that have been done to suppress a race. Our leaders should have some empathy and work toward change and equality for all. Unfortunately that is not happening.
In order to have change we must vote. We must organize and encourage everyone we know to vote. All elections are important but the 2020 election can either make or break this country and roll back gains that have been made over the past years.
The most signiﬁcant challenges are those that we are seeing each day. We should all be concerned. We must vote and get involved.
Priscilla Taylor is a former Palm Beach County mayor and county commissioner.
“One of the biggest challenges in the upcoming election is getting young people and some Black people out to vote. Many do not identify with either candidate and do not feel that the parties or candidates have earned their vote. I have also heard that the person in the White House did not win the popular vote and therefore the voters’ ballots do not matter. … I also believe it is our responsibility to be included.”
I believe one of the biggest challenges in the upcoming election is getting young people and some Black people out to vote. Many do not identify with either candidate and do not feel that the parties or candidates have earned their vote. I have also heard that the person in the White House did not win the popular vote and therefore the voters’ ballots do not matter. Although I agree with their concerns and feel that they are valid, I also believe it is our responsibility to be included. The Sickle Cell Foundation of Palm Beach County & Treasure Coast is working with Sophisticated Out Loud, Hey Sandy, Bus One LLC and other organizations to increase early voting and get as many voters in the western communities registered, out to the polls and provide transportation to those that may be in need.
Shalonda Warren is chief executive ofﬁcer at the Sickle Cell Foundation of Palm Beach & Treasure Coast.