The National Urban League is starting a new occupy movement—Occupy the Vote—joining a chorus of civil rights groups and advocates in the war against voter suppression. It’s also the theme of The State of Black America 2012: Occupy the Vote to Educate, Employ and Empower that will be released Wednesday night at 7pm ET during a town hall meeting and webcast at Howard University.
According to NUL President Marc Morial, African-Americans must not only become aware of what he and others are calling a national assault on voting rights and arm themselves with the information needed to ensure they’re not turned away from the polls, they’ve also got to use their vote to help determine what kind of future they’re going to have.
“Bottom line, if we’re going to have a voice around education and unemployment at a time when the nation’s debating [budget] cuts,” and reducing investments in critical programs, Morial tells BET.com, “we have to be physically engaged. We have to vote or we’re not going to have a voice at the table.”
The report includes several thoughtful essays on a range of topics, such as “Should I Go to College?” and “Black Men Killing Black Men.” There’s also a piece from Rev. Lennox Yearwood, president of the Hip Hop Caucus, on voter suppression titled “The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Jim Crow Laws.”
Morial also will announce the launch of an online election center that people can use to register to vote and view updates on voter suppression activities around the nation and how organizations such as the Urban League are responding to them.
“We see our role as trying to educate people about what the voting requirements are in their states, what type of ID is needed and where they can get it,” he said. “Later in the year we hope to do several other things like an Occupy the Vote bus tour.”
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(Photo: Courtesy National Urban League)