`Black Girls Vote,’ A Political Force to Contend With

by: Deborah Bailey Special to the AFRO
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Nykidra Robinson has watched Black Girls Vote, a Baltimore based voting rights organization focused on capturing the vision and voices of young women, emerge from the grassroots movement that started in 2015 to represent Black women’s electoral aspirations ahead of the 2016 elections.

This weekend, the non-partisan organization that represents the interests and concerns of black women, will host its first annual formal ball to celebrate the victories it has achieved in the two years since it was founded.  Joy Reid, a host onMSNBC,will headline the event and give the keynote speech. Symone Sanders, CNN political commentator and former national press secretary for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, will serve as the mistress of ceremonies.

“What’s extremely important to us is the opportunity to share the message of Black Girls Vote with our attendees and the community,” said Robinson. “We’re officially sold out. And what is so exciting is that young women are driving the movement.”

Reid, who is also co-editor of “We are the Change We Seek: Speeches of Barack Obama,” and a columnist at the Daily Beast, has followed Black Girls Vote since its inception. “Joy was one of the first people who interviewed me with Black Girls Vote,” Robinson said.

Black Girls Vote is preparing for the 2018 midterm elections, with educational and issue forums, and events to connect with young women at high schools and colleges throughout the region.  The organization is concentrating on connecting with 18-25-year-old women and vows to be a force to reckon with both in the community and at the polls. “Young women want to be part of something, (we) will take the issues that we are experiencing in our community and transfer that energy to the polls,” Robinson said.

Robinson said Black women are taking stock of the loyalty they showed to the Democratic Party during the 2016 elections.  In the upcoming midterm elections, Robinson said it’s time for women of color to demand something in return. “Looking at women of color, 94% of us voted for the Democratic nominee in 2016.  We are loyal voters. Do not knock the block,” Robinson said.  “Women of color are saying we will vote and we will support you, but you have to support us, too.”

Black Girls Vote is currently affiliated with several college campuses throughout the region and in 2018, will take their message to the high school level.  Morgan State University is the first campus to host an official chapter of Black Girls Vote.

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