Washington — More than 40 organizations form a coalition to mobilize African American voterswith the announcement of a multi-state voter engagement and organizing effort expected Monday, officials familiar with the campaign told CBS News.
The National Unity 2022 Black Voting and Power Building Campaign, or Unity 22, will focus on building a broad intergenerational coalition to maximize resources, provide tools to Black voters, and counter historical attacks on diverse rights, according to groups’ press releases battle.
“It’s not just about, that’s on the ballot and that’s why you should vote, but really, literally, organizing, like we’ve done over the past year,” said Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Involvement. The organization leads the campaign along with national and state partners including the NAACP, National Urban League, National Action Network, Black Voters Matter, NARAL, Emily’s List and Building Back Together.
Campbell said the groups are aiming to match or exceed black turnout beginning in the 2018 midterm elections. According to the Pew Research Center, more than 122 million people cast their ballots in the 2018 races, with a 51.4% turnout among African Americans.
The coalition will begin a summer of activism across 11 states with community events and a call to action on issues ranging from gun safety to voting rights and reproductive rights. It will also include a social media campaign called #RUVoteReady to register and educate voters, and a recruiting campaign for poll workers and observers.
“We combine our advocacy, if you will, in a really tangible way because you have these attacks that fall on the states,” Campbell said, citing those of the Supreme CourtRoe v. to fall Wade. “The effects are real because local people have to deal with it. It plays out when you can’t go to that Planned Parenthood clinic because you’re going in there for more than one abortion. There are other medical needs.”
She said the campaign begins with the upcoming Michigan and Ohio primary elections. It will also attack other key battlefields including Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Aid workers say the group hopes to connect more than 1 million black voters and train more than 500 youth organizers.
“We need to work together to educate our community on how to protect their voice because you have all these voter suppression laws on the books,” Campbell explained, referring to the 19 states that enacted restrictions last year. “So that’s going to be the first truly national election where we’re going to see the results.”
As President Biden’s approval rating has fallen in recent months, so has support among black voters. A recent Washington Post-Ipsos poll found that 7 in 10 approve of the president’s job performance, down 8 percentage points from last year. Sixty percent of respondents said Mr. Biden is delivering on most of his campaign promises, while 37 percent said he has not.
“Biden and Harris are not on the ballot,” Campbell countered. “Who’s on the ballot are congressmen…the governors and the state legislatures.”
She said the coalition will target key demographics, particularly young people, where support for Mr Biden has also waned.
“So really trying to educate and motivate and create a peer-to-peer model where young people are really encouraging their peers,” Campbell said. “And yes, there is disappointment and yes we have to keep pushing this administration to do what they promised and things like that and that’s not going to stop.”