Jul. 18, 2016 12:45 pm

This coalition is working to increase Black voter turnout in Philly

"If there's anything that could make us voiceless," said NAACP chapter president Minister Rodney Muhammad, it's choosing not to vote.

Reverend William B. Moore (left) sits beside Minister Rodney Muhammad and Attorney Michael Coard (right).

(Photo by Tony Abraham)

Attorney and activist Michael Coard is concerned for the Black vote, and he has reason to be. Now, more than ever in Coard’s lifetime, there’s a need for Black Philadelphians to register to vote.

There are approximately 41,000 unregistered Black voters in Philadelphia right now, according, to NAACP Philadelphia President Minister Rodney Muhammad. That figure could double by November, he said, if action isn’t taken now.

“There’s a need for folks to register and vote because Black Lives Matter,” said Coard at the announcement of a new coalition aiming to boost the lagging Black vote in Philadelphia. “I specifically say Black Lives Matter and not ‘all lives matter’ because America has never believed that all lives matter. For folks today to say that all lives matter, they obviously know nothing about American history.”

To put the #BlackLivesMatter movement into context, Coard shared a startling comparison of our era with that of Jim Crow.

“The fact that there are more unarmed Black people killed today by police than there were lynched in the late 1800s speaks volumes,” he said.

In an ideal democracy, voters have the power to change the society they live in. That’s why a number of Black-led organizations have come together to rally the Black vote in Philadelphia, including:

  • Philadelphia NAACP
  • Black Clergy of PHiladelphia and Vicinity
  • Philadelphia Community of Leaders
  • Black Voters Matter
  • Philadelphia Chapter of the National Action Network
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. 
  • Avenging The Ancestors Coalition
  • United Negro Improvement Association

The coalition will conduct a voter registration drive, focusing on increasing the turnout of Black voters in Philadelphia with plans on expanding to other jurisdictions across the state.

Reverend William B. Moore said this coming election will be one of the “most important” elections he’s ever witnessed.

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“I will do everything I can to make sure every person is registered to vote and does in fact vote,” Moore said. “I would like to say that I am a part of the legacy of a people who have been hanged, been given their blood, sweat and tears many times in their lives to vote. As an African American, I cannot — and we cannot — afford to sit on the sideline.”


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