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NAJEE’S NOTES: An organization that helps get out the vote

By Najee Ali

Contributing Writer

A statewide poll of African-American voters reveal that our community members will be fully engaged in the hotly contested mid-term elections.

One of the leading highlights of the poll is that African-American voters can determine the margin of victory in key congressional races and statewide ballot measures in the November general election.

The survey was conducted on behalf of the African American Voter Registration, Education, and Participation (AAVREP) Project, whose mission has been to increase African American and urban voter registration, education, and civic participation.

The organization was founded by then-Assemblyman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who is now our county supervisor. Ridley-Thomas has an impressive political career, serving previously as a Los Angeles City Council member, and state senator. But perhaps the most important achievements in his legacy was the founding of AAVREP.

Through partnerships with community, labor and religious organizations, AAVREP empowers individuals and neighborhoods one vote at a time.

Throughout California history, black voters have been the most consistent Democratic voting bloc, standing strong against conservative efforts to roll back civil rights and equal opportunity. From the state house to the White House, African Americans are currently leading the resistance to those who would destroy the progress we have made through 200 years of struggle. AAVREP has registered more than 200,000 voters, trained more than 2,500 community-based team members in voter registration and mobilization and contacted nearly 200,000 households to help get-out-the-vote campaigns.

It also has developed a statewide email database of African Americans, conducted extensive focus groups and polling of African-American voters in state and local elections, conducted ecumenical leadership meetings to educate and engage church congregations and encourage greater participation in the civic and political process.

The organization also strategically targeted and deployed team members to hundreds of precincts and polling places to help educate, persuade and turn out African-American voters in local and state elections.

This organization is near and dear to my heart. I have walked and knocked on doors reaching out to South Los Angeles voters with the activists involved in this group since its inception.

The most important thing in this week’s blog is don’t forget the last day to register to vote is Oct. 22.

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