We are on the eve of the presidential Election Day, y’all—and Tamika Mallory wants us to participate.
In an exclusive clip from OWN and NowThis provided to The Root, the activist, co-founder of intersectional social justice organization Until Freedom, and co-host of the new podcast on iHeartMedia’s The Black Effect Network, Street Politicians speaks on how grassroots social justice fights such as on-the-ground protests can be combined with remaining an active voter (and yes, this includes down-ballot candidates for those of us who are less-than-enthused about our current leading presidential choices).
“When we go to a protest and then we don’t vote, we’re missing a link,” Mallory says. “It becomes hollow because you have done the great work of bringing awareness, but then we didn’t finish the job of ensuring that the policymakers match what’s happening on the streets.”
As part of its #OWNYouVote initiative, OWN has partnered with NowThis to promote stories that will focus on “Black women changemakers and highlight issues that uniquely impact the Black community including obstacles to voting regarding challenges around COVID-19, mail-in ballots, voter suppression, transportation, and changing protocols and poll locations; connecting the everyday issues critical to Black women to the issues appearing on the ballot; empowering this key voting block to own their voting story, and make a plan to ensure success at the polls; encouraging local community activism and leveraging personal networks; and collaborating with the voting rights partnership community to support mail-in voting, voter registration, volunteerism, transportation, and safety procedures.”
“Protest without going to the polls is not finishing the job,” Mallory guided fellow protestors (who were fighting to support and honor the late Breonna Taylor) to chant in the clip. “And we have to finish the job.”
Even in a more standard presidential election, informed voters realize their job isn’t finished after the election—the elected officials must be held accountable, consistently. In this upcoming presidential election—where we may not even know the final results until well after Election Day—we know more than ever just how ongoing and unfinished our jobs will be.