AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Texas Democratic Convention held a panel on Wednesday, June 3, called Earning the Black Vote.
Panelists discussed ways to engage with black voters across the state, especially in light of the recent protests across the country calling for criminal justice reform, and so much more.
“Now we’re hearing an even louder outcry that the real focus is not just economics. It’s not just health. It’s not just criminal justice, but it’s really around a bigger issue of justice itself, to make sure America lives up to its ideal,” said State Chairman of Texas Coalition of Black Democrats Carroll G. Robinson.
Robinson explained the party is hoping the mass amount of protesters across the country choose to make their voices heard at the polls, too.
“The right to march is protected by the Constitution, but to make sure the Constitution is an ongoing and sustainable document, you have to exercise your right to vote,” Robinson said. “The concerns that we’re hearing expressed about criminal justice reform, the way you get that done is not only by marching but also voting to elect individuals from district attorney to mayors, city council members who hire police chiefs that are going to hire the right kind of people who will make sure we have the right kind of police officers.”
During the panel on Wednesday, Texas Democratic House nominee Alisa Simmons explained she feels showing up for black voters equates to sharing power with them once a candidate is in office.
“I think the party needs to spend time, investing energizing activating and inspiring our community to turn out to the polls. The party is going to embrace our concerns and our needs and that’s what they need to do and they’ve got to look at what separates our experiences,” Simmons said.
Simmons also explained that criminal justice reform is not the only issue at hand.
“Redistricting is one of the top goals and aims for getting out and getting folks elected. Medicaid expansion, healthcare for all is as many folks as possible is a top issue. Those are, they’re not just minority issues,” Simmons added.
On the other side of the aisle, Texas Republicans are also advocating for protesters to head to the polls.
“We have the opportunity to elect legislators that are going to write….legislation that will help us see the changes we want to see in our community, and our ancestors fought for us to have the right to vote,” said Corey Tabor, Chaplain of the Republican Party of Texas.
Tabor said he hopes voters are taking the time to educate themselves on different policies, and choosing the candidate that aligns with their personal values.
“The reality is African Americans are not all the same. We’re all looking for some different things that we want to see happen in our nation,” Tabor added.