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Black Votes Matter event held in North Omaha Sunday

Posted at 10:12 PM, Sep 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-03 07:27:03-04

This November, Nebraska has major elections to look at like the race for senator, governor, and Congress. Sunday one community gathered in North Omaha to remind their neighbors their voices and votes matter.

Leaders in the North Omaha community sent a message, low levels of voter turnout in the African American community is unacceptable. So, they held an event to encourage voters to make their voices heard.

“This is the right place to be today whether you live in North Omaha or wherever,” said Preston Love Junior, the founder of Black Votes Matter Omaha.

A free concert with vendors took over 24th Street.

“It's been a long time since you've seen north 24th street be this active, be this vibrant so we're all excited,” said Chairman of the Board for North 24th Street Corridor Alliance.

But the booths getting the most attention were those registering people to vote.

"There has been a lot of issues in our community throughout the whole world regarding the turnout of voters in the community and it seems to have been a decline in the number of African Americans going to the poll,” said Johnson.

According to the Census' Current Population Survey in the 2016 election 65% of white citizens cast ballots which is up from the 2012 election. But only 59% of African Americans showed up to the polls in 2016, which was down from 66% in 2012.

A statistic some in the African American community say needs to change.

“There are so many things that are going on that we don't agree with, like some of the policies, but if we're not voting then we don't have our voices heard,” said attendee Che Orduna.

For Orduna, the lack of affordable healthcare will be on her mind this November as she heads to the polls. “It's not affordable for people in my community and they have to choose between rent, food or affordable health care for their children,” she said.

Organizers of today's event say they want others in District Two to know choosing not to vote won't help to change anything.

“With this initiative, we hope that we will spark that interest once again and get those numbers back up like they need to be so that we can make a difference in our community,” said Johnson.

“We're gonna wag our finger at the nonvoters but we're going to hope that everybody walks away with a message inside of themselves,” said Love Junior

3 News Now has spoken with both candidates for governor and senator one-on-one and even televised the debates held last week at the Nebraska State Fair.

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