Larry Young, host of the Larry Young Morning Show and chair, National Action Network Greater Baltimore Chapter was on hand to help hand out masks and register people to vote. (Photo courtesy)

By Larry Young

This October brought us a different kind of campaign season. Yes, the importance of the closing weeks of the national and local elections is a big part of the story. However, Black communities are also contending with the crisis of another dangerous increase of COVID-19 cases. These two concerns create a potent combination of issues that demand attention.

As election interests grew in Baltimore at the same time the next wave of COVID-19 figures did, I became concerned and joined a local group of people who thought the same way. We decided to take action on the streets and combined civic participation with health protections.  

By raising awareness about the upcoming General Election, getting people registered to vote, and sharing free face masks to keep vulnerable populations safe, the National Action Network Greater Baltimore Branch, Women on the Move, A. Philip Randolph Institute and Northeast Maglev worked well together. Standing near posters, encouraging onlookers to “register to vote” and “mask up,” our representatives were busy with Board of Elections forms and reusable masks at a Mondawmin Mall bus stop, at the intersection of North Avenue and Harford Road, and the Westside Shopping Center during evening rush hours on Oct. 7, Oct. 14 and Oct. 21, respectively.  

Volunteers hand out masks and register people to vote during recent “Mask Up” GOTV event. (Photo courtesy)

This partnership, which speaks to the type of relationships needed to reach today’s residents, comes from the fact that many people still have not registered to vote yet. They need more election information this year than before, and they require more personal protective equipment, like the 2,000 sturdy and reusable face masks donated by Northeast Maglev, our corporate partner.  Our team is helping more voters perform one of the most valued civic duties as well as helping to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

The next voter registration and face mask event was scheduled for Oct. 28 from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the intersection of Eutaw and Saratoga Streets near Downtown. On Oct. 31, we will host a free outdoor Halloween celebration for children, where we will be socially distant while offering candy and face masks from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Arena Players Theater at 801 McCulloh St. in the Seton Hill neighborhood. Mark your calendars and plan to join us!

And remember, we all must get involved, so mask up and vote. Our future depends on it.

Larry Young is the host of the Larry Young Morning Show and chair of the National Action Network Greater Baltimore Chapter.