American actor, writer and producer Tyler Perry is joining forces with the “Park and Praise” campaign- a joint effort from the Equal Ground Education Fund alongside Florida-based community organisations, places of worship and business’ to increase the turnout of black voters. Equal Ground are spending half a million dollars on the initiative, a sign of their commitment to black voices being heard.
With just two weeks to go until the US election, there has never been a better time to increase the amount of black voters and ensure that people from all cultures living in America can have their say in who runs their country.
In a year where racial tensions have been heightened, it has never been more integral to the future of American society that black people vote
Park and Praise is spearheaded by the Equal Ground Education Fund, an organisation who aim to target 25 Florida counties, where nearly 250,000 black residents reside, to enable access to education regarding voting and empowerment.
In a statement to the press, Equal Ground Education Founder Jasmine Burney-Clark, said: “Despite Florida’s historical disenfranchisement of black voters, our voices will be heard whether we vote by mail or early. Our work to provide robust voter education and ensure that accurate information reaches our communities is the highest priority and is exactly what this partnership with Tyler Perry is going to do.”
This partnership could bring about real change to the state of Florida, and to the USA as a whole as the black community makes up around 13% of the country’s population (the second largest ethic group); encouraging the maximum possible number of black people to vote, and providing access to education on the matter will help to ensure that all voices are heard, making up a result that is an accurate reflection of the countries electorate- including those of black heritage.
In a year where racial tensions have been heightened, it has never been more integral to the future of American society that black people vote, whether this be for the left or right side of the political spectrum. It is vital that black people are heard and exercise their right to vote, and Tyler Perry’s donation will provide important information and encouragement to the large black community in Florida.
“Park and Praise” will be holding socially distanced events where attendees can stay in their car as they drop off their vote by mail ballot, before listening to community and local faith leaders, gospel choirs, elected officials and political candidates, as well as musical entertainment.
This project is a fantastic sign of the times, with help from the work of movements such as Black Lives Matter, the thoughts, feelings and voices of black people are being shared with the world, and the Park and Praise campaign continues this fight by fighting to obtain the political views and votes of black people in Florida, a state where black communities have been unheard for far too long.
Black turnout could dramatically change the paths of emerging leaders and policies, and even the outcome of the election entirely. In a country where historically, black people have received poor treatment, it is of high importance that every black person eligible to vote exercises the right and has their say, as voting rights activist Desmond Meade stated, as he rejected calls to sit this election out on grounds of not believing black people would truly be heard :
“We are getting an up close and personal view of the consequences of voting or not voting. If we should not vote or our vote did not matter, then why are there so many forces investing resources to try to stop us from voting.”
As well as Tyler Perry and Equal Grounds efforts to increase black voter turnout, Lebron James’ non-profit organisation “More Than a Vote” has teamed up with the NAACP Legal Defence Fund to recruit over 20,000 volunteer poll workers in black electoral districts to address the shortage of workers in communities of colour.
Both of these initiatives strive to obtain the highest possible amount of black people to vote in the upcoming US election, it will be interesting to see just how much of a difference this can make in US politics, not only in terms of election outcomes, but in terms of inspiring black people in the country to take more interest in politics, if the country can show that it will listen to their voices as much as it listens to those of white people. Black people make up an enormous percentage of the population in the States, and it is not fair that so many do not get out and vote, whether this be through a lack of education on politics available or simply feeling as if their vote wont make a difference.
2020 has been full of change to society and , should these campaigns reach their targets, another change will occur, but a much more positive one than has been the norm; black turnout will increase to hopefully create a result reflective of their feelings.