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Support goes both ways

MOLLIE F. BELT | 5/4/2015, 8:21 a.m.
Why should a candidate reach out to the African American community when voting records indicate that – out of over ...
Mollie Finch Belt, publisher of The Dallas Examiner

The Dallas Examiner

Why should a candidate reach out to the African American community when voting records indicate that – out of over 40,000 eligible voters in each district – District 3 has 43,608, District 4 has 44,993, District 7 has 40,529 and District 8 has 40,925 – less than 3,000 residents voted in each of these Districts in the 2011 Dallas City Council election?

When we lived in Alabama, my mother had a difficult time getting registered to vote. Back then, people had to pay a poll tax and in Tuskegee she told me they would lock the doors when they saw Negroes coming to register. When my mother was finally able to register, she always kept her voter registration card in her wallet – it was in her wallet when she died. Today, I keep my voter registration card in my wallet, too.

Voting is one of our country’s sacred rights as Attorney General Eric Holder said in his farewell address last week. And we must protect the right to vote.

We protect the right to vote by voting.

In a year when we are celebrating 50 years since the Selma March for voting rights for African Americans – Blacks are not voting. Why?

Dallas Blacks sued to get single member City Council districts in Dallas so that all residents of the city would be represented. The legal battle was long and hard. The plaintiff in the lawsuit was initially Al Lipscomb. Later Roy Williams and Marvin Crenshaw became the primary plaintiffs.

Prior to that time, all City Council members were elected by the entire city and areas of the city with predominately African Americans had no representation.

Four City Council districts with large African American populations have been historically African American designated districts. Those districts are 3, 4, 7 and 8. All four districts are located in the Southern Sector of the city of Dallas.

With all four African American representatives leaving the City Council this year, it’s important for our community to know about each candidate running for election in these districts, support the candidate we feel will best represent us, work hard for our community, and help them win by exercising our right to vote.

Southern Dallas districts only have a few active voters. Far too many of us stand silently on the sidelines.

When 1,700 people vote out of an eligible 40,000-plus registered residents in a single district, we are in trouble.

Why should the “establishment” take us seriously? We aren’t taking an active part in the system.

Why should money be spent in the Southern Sector of Dallas to inform us of candidates’ positions? We don’t support those who we expect to support us.

Why would investments be made in the Southern Sector of Dallas that will benefit the residents?

Why should what we want or need matter? We aren’t proactive in supporting those who will fight for us. Maybe that is why many of our representatives seek finances elsewhere.

Why should our voice matter? We don’t stand up for those who would listen to us.