Georgia quickly became a meme during election week as mail in ballots slowly flipped the state blue for the first time in 1992. Social media identified voting rights queen and former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams as one to thank for helping Joe Biden inch pass the 270 seats needed to win and secure the 2020 presidency.
But Abrams isn’t the only one helping to register and engage Black and brown voters to activate a clearer picture of the South. These eight Black women are doing the work across the South and you need to remember their names.
Arnée Odoms is an organizer and the Alabama state coordinator for Black Votes Matter, a national organization that works to increase voter turnout in marginalized communities and advocates for policies that expand voting rights. Black Votes matter also works to expand other grassroots Black-led organizations that address issues such as the COVID-19 response and disaster relief.
LaTosha Brown is a Selma, Ala. native, now living in Georgia. Brown is the co-founder of Black Voters Matter, a voting rights organization operating across 11 states in the South that works to increase Black voter registration and advocate for the strengthening of the Voting Rights Act. Black Votes Matter played an integral role in the 2017 when Alabama voted to elect Senator Doug Jones.
Cara McClure is a Birmingham native and 2018 graduate of Emerge Alabama, a national organization that recruits and trains women to run for Democratic office. She also founded Faith & Works, which works with faith leaders across the state to use organizing strategies to involve their congregations in voting rights and social justice.
Arekia Bennett is the executive director of Mississippi Votes, a non-partisan civic engagement group focusing on young people in Mississippi. During the 2020 presidential election Bennett worked to advocate for rural Mississippians experiencing voter suppression.
Charlane Oliver, executive director of Equity Alliance, @CharlaneO
Charlane Oliver is the executive director of Equity Alliance, a Nashville nonprofit that advocates for Tennesseans of color through education and civic leadership. In 2020 she was named one of Nashville’s Power 100. According to Equity Alliance Oliver helped register 91,000 Black and brown Tennesseans to vote for the 2018 midterms and increased Black voter turnout by 413 percent.
Cassia Herron, chairperson of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, @cassiaspeaks
Cassia Herron is the chairperson of the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, which works to build economic justice and voting rights in Kentucky. She has worked for 10 years in community building and political activism.
Ashley Shelton is the executive director of the Power Coalition in Louisiana, which works to improve voter turnout and advocate for equitable policy change. Previously she was the former vice president of programs at the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation.
Nsé Ofot is the CEO the New Georgia Project, which works to engage more voters across the political spectrum in Georgia and defend the Voting Rights Act. NGP registered more than 400,000 voters before the 2020 presidential election.