BY ANDREAS BUTLER
With early voting and vote by mail in full swing, the general election is near. The Equal Ground Educational Fund has events going statewide urging African Americans to vote, including weekend events in Volusia County.
“Every election is the most important of our lives. This one impacts us across the board. This one impacts all three branches of the U.S. government in the executive, legislative and judicial, said Mario Davis, regional director for Volusia County for Equal Ground.
“There are several amendments on the ballot that will directly impact African American and minority communities. You aren’t just voting for the next four years, but the next 20 years. Ultimately, whoever is elected make policies that will dictate the next 20 years.
Davis is also executive director of the Volusia County Minority Elected Officials.
Equal Ground has partnered with local organizations, including Minority Elected Officials, local NAACP branches, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee, sororities and fraternities, as well as clergy to urge people to vote.
“Equal Ground mobilizes and partners with individuals who have longstanding relationships within the county. Equal Ground is a resource for local organizations to be able to get the message out and fulfil the mission,” Davis stressed.
“The partnerships have been tremendous, especially with the Minority Elected Officials and clergy. We have been able to unify and get things done.’’
Several events are scheduled: On Oct. 31, a ‘Park N Praise’ event titled A Halloween Voters Fest will be held at the Midtown Cultural & Educational Center from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Also on Oct. 31 in DeLand, a “Souls to the Polls” event is scheduled at 8 a.m.
Those events are part of a partnership with Equal Ground and actor/producer, Tyler Perry to get 250,00 voters in the state to the polls.
In addition, a mailing is being sent to all Black registered voters who haven’t voted.
Phone bankers are calling 7,000 voters a day and there have been three candidate forums.
‘Getting the message’
Current vote by mail and early voting numbers show hope.
“I think our methods are working. The impact is starting to show with the work that has been put in. I think that people are getting the message,’’ Davis said.
On Oct. 16, Equal Ground and the Minority Elected Officials held a press conference at the Supervisor of Elections Office at 1750 S. Woodland Ave. in DeLand urging Blacks to vote.
“It is important that the Black community come out and vote. Your vote is important. You need to represent your community, family and nation. It’s critical that you have representation for your community that is for your community and about your community,’’ said Volusia County Councilwoman Barbara Girtman.
‘Vote is important’
Former County and Circuit Judge Hubert Grimes went a step further.
“I want you to vote. I encourage you to vote. Your vote is important. Don’t let anyone deter you. Voting got me elected. I am leading by example. I am dropping off my vote-by-mail ballot today,” expressed Grimes.