Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates Statement on Racial Unrest

Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates Statement on Racial Unrest

In light of the recent social unrest that has rolled through our nation’s cities and towns, and in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, the Board of Directors of Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates  reaffirms our mission to expand voter participation so that all voices in our democracy are heard. We express our support and alignment with the activists, organizers and change makers throughout the American body politic who are fighting for a more just and equitable future.

American form racism is older than the founding of our republic and has been woven and crystalized into the very structures that govern our nation today. Due to that reality there are far too many instances where governmental entities, formed under the pretense to protect communities, become the very same entities that inflict terror and pain upon those very same communities. On May 25 we collectively watched the gross manifestation of those flawed systems as a Minneapolis police officer want only took the life of George Floyd. This instance of injustice was compounded by the silence and complicity of fellow officers who failed to intervene as their peer murdered a citizen in full view of the
public.

It is crucial to understand that instances of police brutality disproportionately impact black people across our nation and is a leading cause of death for young black men. During this already trying time where Black Americans face more fatal health outcomes battling COVID-19 when compared to any other demographic, they have also had to process the extrajudicial killings of not only George Floyd but Tamir Rice, Timothy Russell, Malissa Williams, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and too many others. To silently standby in light of this reality would betray our convictions as an organization.

Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates was founded with the expressed goal of expanding voter participation and highlighting policies and structures that impede said participation. We have carried out that goal for the better part of a decade with grassroots voter registration operations, political advocacy and extensive research. In the process, we have registered about 16,000 voters and made lawmakers and policy makers more conscious of how their decisions impact the rights of the most insecure and unprotected among us.  Creating and supporting more participation and representative outcomes in our elections is at the core of our organization’s mission and we will continue to do this work.

Going forward, NOVA will actively look for opportunities to collaborate and align with organizations that are on the frontlines of this struggle for a more egalitarian future. We intend to bring whatever resources we have to bear to aid in those efforts, understanding that in order for all lives to matter in this nation Black Lives must also matter.