Award-winning Professor, Consultant, and Speaker. Former senior government executive. I ignite the power within communities. Let’s Connect: KimberlyONeil.com

October 13, 2020

Today begins early voting in Texas. Given the rampant racial injustice climate and voter suppression efforts, I was determined to get in line early and before the doors opened at 8:00 am. As I stood in line, I started humming Mahalia Jackson’s version of “How I Got Over” from the March on Washington in 1963. I instantly felt a sense of emotion that I did not expect. At that moment, a flood of memories passed through my mind.

First, I transcended back to 1990, my freshman year at North Carolina A&T State University. I was registered to vote in New York but volunteered for Charlotte (NC) Mayor Harvey Gantt’s U.S. Senate campaign. Mayor Gantt was trying to unseat incumbent Senator Jesse Helms, who had been in office since 1972. During one of our campaign trainings, we were told about the possibility of efforts to suppress the Black vote in Greensboro. Although I started canvassing on political campaigns as a teenager in New York, I was not prepared for my election day experiences. Mayor Gantt lost the election. However, I learned and witnessed the power of the Black vote, Jim Crow politics was not dead, and there were concerted efforts to quiet the voices within Black communities. …

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