Black Votes Matter Holds Kick-Off Event

Posted at 6:25 PM, Sep 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-12 15:27:02-04

The movement Black Votes Matter helped get people motivated to get to the polls with their Get Out The Vote Kick-Off event on Saturday.

Volunteers waved signs and shouted “Black votes matter!” at cars driving through the 24th & Lake intersection while drivers honked their support.

Nearby, candidates, voting activists, and families enjoyed free food, music, activities, and education on voter participation.

Black Votes Matter was founded by Preston Love, Jr., who said that North Omaha has statistically under-performed in turnout on Election Day.

"This community has voted under par with the rest of Douglas County, sometimes, at the level of 10 to 14 percent,” said Love.

Love hoped that today’s event would help increase those numbers by offering voter registration and applications for early voting.

"We're trying to alleviate this idea that their vote does not matter, because their vote does matter,” said Love.

Warren Buffett’s Drive 2 Vote also encouraged people to register early to be able to vote in November.  The non-partisan organization will be providing rides for seniors and those without a car, who can find it challenging to get to the polls.

"Engage in the community, find out what they're needs are, find out what's limiting them from having their voice heard, and fix it,” said Karin Waggoner, field director for Drive 2 Vote.

Marc Nda, an immigrant from Togo said he doesn't want to waste any time making his voice heard.

"You wonder why this African, he just become a citizen and he's so heavily involved.  Well, why aren't you involved?  Get out, go vote your issue,” he addressed the crowd on Saturday.

Several candidates came out to show their support, including U.S. Congressman Brad Ashford, who announced he will be introducing a new bill this Monday.

"We address the problem of black youth unemployment in this country, and this bill will set that framework. The only bill that I know of in the House that talks directly to the issue of black youth unemployment,” said Ashford.

Ashford says the bill will bring together labor unions, contractors, and federal infrastructure agencies to help get African-American youth employed in what he called "shovel-ready" jobs.