The Unity ’22 Campaign is a national and multi-state organizing, non-partisan, integrated voter engagement campaign. The initiative is focused on issues, including increasing Black voter turnout, and recently began traveling up and down the East Coast to encourage Black voters to participate in this year’s midterm elections. (Courtesy Photo)

By Nicole D. Batey,
Special to the AFRO

The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) is going all-out to encourage and galvanize black voters with Unity ’22 GOTV (Get Out the Vote) Comedy Tour and Organizing Weekends. So far, the tour has performed in key battleground states: Cleveland, Toledo and Columbus, Ohio; Detroit and Kalamazoo, Mich.; Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Penn.; Orlando, Fla.; and Atlanta, Ga.

In partnership with the NCBCP, the Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR) “Power of the Ballot Evening of Comedy Nights” includes opening acts by Black women comedians, special guests and speaking programs with inspirational thought leaders who will share stories and testimonials related to the “Power of Our Voices and Votes,” according to event organizers.

NCBCP CEO Melanie L. Campbell said the drive has two goals “to thank and bring joy (through laughter) to the leaders, organizers and activists who are working hard to get out the Black vote and to hit the streets with them to canvass and knock on doors to register, encourage and mobilize our people to ‘own their power’ as a force in the 2022 midterm election.”

What’s more, at each tour stop, workers drive voters to polls, conduct door-to-door canvassing and distribute election literature as part of the drive to mobilize the vote.

“This election, we can’t be comfortable with just taking ourselves to go vote,” Petee Talley, who is spearheading the Ohio Unity Coalition on Black Civic Participation. “We’ve got to make sure everyone in our family; our kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews everybody has to come out and vote. There’s a lot at stake in this election, so much is on the line, our power, our rights, our freedom is at risk. We are voting for justice.”

“This election is about so much. But most importantly, it is about our rights and freedoms. That means our right to vote, our right to safe and prosperous communities, affordable housing, education and healthcare, criminal justice reform, reproductive justice and so much more,” said Helen Butler, executive director of The Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda.

“When Black women stand together, there is nothing we cannot do. We saw what our power in 2020 accomplished and we are going to make history again by mobilizing Black voters throughout the state.”

Since getting underway Oct. 7, only Hurricane Ian has interrupted the tour and it is returning to Florida Nov. 4 with stops scheduled in Orlando, Daytona and Brevard to include disaster relief efforts.

The Unity ’22 Campaign, a national, non-partisan endeavor for voter engagement campaigns, is focused on increasing Black voter turnout and providing voter protection tools.

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