Walk the Walk 2020: From the Streets to the Ballot Box

Mary Jobaida in Jackson Heights DANIEL LEHRKAUPT
  • Investing in community relationships and personal connections to turn out voters. These community organizations use peer-to-peer connections to engage voters and work year round on building electoral power in communities of color. For example, one of the beneficiary organizations, Advance Carolina, is a Black-led organization with a mission to build the political and economic power in Black communities and institutions in North Carolina. In 2016, Advance Carolina helped elect a Black NC Supreme Court Justice, flipped a house seat by 3000 votes and won at county school tax measure by 1200 votes. In 2017, the organization helped elect two Black mayors and three Black women in Wake County. Significantly, organizations like Advance Carolina put money directly in the pockets of people who live in the communities where they work and organize. (Update: Walk the Walk helped close the funding gap for Advance Carolina, Carolina Federation, and Durham for All.)
  • Advocating for legislative and policy changes to improve the lives of Latinx and Black communities. The beneficiary organizations have C4 status so they can take political positions and advocate for passage of legislation and policy changes on the local and state level. For example, Voces de la Frontera in Wisconsin has led successful campaigns to defeat two state anti-sanctuary bills and the 287g program that turns local law enforcement into immigration agents. As groups like Voces de la Frontera have led campaigns affecting Latinx communities, they have built leadership in these communities and helped earn the trust and credibility needed to engage community members in the electoral process.
  • Working to dismantle racist laws and policies to help achieve racial and economic justice. Another of the five beneficiary organizations is the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. Prior to 2018, Florida permanently barred anyone with a felony conviction from voting, effectively disenfranchising 20 percent of the state’s African-American voters. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition led the effort to pass Amendment 4 to restore voting rights to 1.4 million people who have felony convictions in Florida. The grassroots organization has also challenged the Florida legislature’s attempt to restrict voting rights by requiring that people with felony convictions must pay all court fines and restitution before voting. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is now working on educating, registering and protecting these new voters. (Update: we helped close the C4 funding gap of Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, so Walk the Walk supported the New Florida Majority.)

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Anoka Faruqee

Anoka Faruqee

Anoka Faruqee is a an artist and educator in New Haven, CT.