Local organizers working to empower black voters across North Carolina

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Cities across North Carolina are gearing up for election day on November 2nd. One national organization teamed up with locals in Kinston and some other cities to make sure a specific group of voters know how much their voices matter.

“Black Voters Matter”, a voting rights and community empowerment organization, is working to let people know how important local elections are. The same group and its affiliates also want black voters to know that their vote carries just as much weight as anyone else’s.

“Black lives matter, black people matter, better yet everyone’s matter, but we are not getting our just do at this point,” said James T Sparks Jr. who is campaigning for Kinston City Council.

“Black votes matter,” a phrase organizers want echoed to people who they feel need to hear it.

“Black voters matter is just a part of the fact that black issues matter. It’s not discriminating against anybody else and their issues, it’s just saying that our issues matter,” said Tiffani Koonce Crawford with Freedom on the Inside & Black Voters Matter.

Tiffani Koonce Crawford works for freedom on the inside, another group under the Black Voters Matter family. She says, some people have expressed disappointment and feel as though their votes don’t really count.

“If you look at the state of North Carolina, right now all eyes are on the state of North Carolina right now. When we look at voter suppression, that’s how you know your vote matters when people go out of their way to suppress your vote and do things and gerrymander and try to keep you out of the process, that means that your vote matters,” said Crawford.

Now, the groups want to make sure black voters in Kinston, Ayden and other cities know that they can make all the difference in elections.

“We have voter guides to let them know who’s running, what their platforms are and just a few more literature drops to let you know how your vote counts when your vote will count,” said Chasity Pate a volunteer with Black Voters Matter.

Their efforts included a party at the poles event, helping bring elected officials, candidates and their constituents together. Chris Suggs, a Kinston City Council candidate says it brings him hope to see people coming out to vote in their local elections.

“To see this type of turnout and community support, to know that our campaign and the work that we can do as a government to engage more people, to make sure that Kinston is truly reflective of all of its citizens, that’s one thing I look forward to doing,” said Suggs.

Suggs making sure black voters and voters everywhere know that their voices do matter.

“In these local elections your votes do matter, your votes do count,” said Suggs.

Suggs also happens to be the youngest candidate. If he wins that will make him the youngest elected official ever in North Carolina. Now, election day is November 2nd and WNCT will bring you the latest results online and on-air so be sure to stay with us.

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