When most of the people in power don’t look like you, it’s hard to relate sometimes, let alone believe, that change is possible. It’s important to remember though that this is exactly what the powerful count on: you not showing up. All the more reason to prove them wrong.

In about a month, Americans will once again head to the voting booth. This isn’t a Presidential election year, but the 2018 midterm elections could very well be the most pivotal election of our lifetime. We, the people, have to not only participate in the electoral process, but also educate ourselves about the issues and demand that those seeking to represent us provide more than just lip service.

My team and I at theGrio have put together our agenda for the 2018 midterms to remind you why we must vote and why those votes have got to count. This is our manifesto; our decree to hold candidates accountable and let them know our concerns, our mandate and the reasons why supporting individuals who reflect these interests with both our manpower and dollars is pivotal.

Here’s a look at the issues that matter to us most. #BlackVoterPower

1Gun Violence/Gun Reform

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Years before the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, many groups, often led by Black women and young Black teens, were pushing for stricter gun legislation, gun buyback programs, universal background checks, an assault weapons ban and more.  Why? We are the ones suffering the most from gun violence.

According to the CDC’s Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) database, Black men experienced 27 more firearm homicides per 100,000 people than white men between 2008 and 2016. Anyone who seeks our vote has got to back measures like these and also support initiatives like after-school programs/activities that keep young people off the streets.

In addition to reform measures, we are calling on candidates to support grassroots organizations that are already on the ground doing everything from intervention to providing recreational alternatives and counseling for young people.  If someone wants our vote, s/he must treat gun violence as an immediate national crisis.

 

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