Georgia Runoff: Meet the Organizers Who Led Historic Turnout Among Young Black Voters

WASHINGTON – According to data from Tufts University and the Associated Press, close to 1 in 5 young people (ages 18-29) who voted in yesterday’s Senate runoff election…

WASHINGTON – According to data from Tufts University and the Associated Press, close to 1 in 5 young people (ages 18-29) who voted in yesterday’s Senate runoff election in Georgia––including 25% of Black youth––did not vote in the 2020 general election in November. Our internal data team reports that women voters are outpacing men across the board, and unprecedented turnout from Black women under the age of 49. But here’s the story behind the data: Black women organizers on the ground in Georgia led a historic voter engagement campaign that is changing the future of our country.

Women Engaged is a nonpartisan social justice initiative at the intersections of integrated voter engagement and reproductive justice, serving the broader Atlanta-metro area and the state of Georgia for over six years. Since our founding we have registered nearly 2000 voters and have contacted over 90k residents through our innovative get-out-the-vote efforts focusing on young voters, Black and brown voters, and women voters.

Our tactics include, phone & text banking, relational organizing, and a robust digital strategy that prioritizes maintaining the interests of public health and safety led by Millenial and Gen Z youth leaders.

Malika Redmond, cofounder and executive director of Women Engaged, said, “It’s not an understatement to say that this historic election is a profound statement about the resilience of Georgians; especially Black people, to exercise their right to vote in record breaking numbers during a year when voter suppression, a global pandemic, and racialized terror and intimidation was at the forefront.  Since 2014 as a nonpartisan organization dedicated to social and reproductive justice, it’s our job to ensure that the voices of historically oppressed people are heard, and that our votes are counted. But there’s one thing we know for sure, our work for justice and equity will continue.”

Michelle Wilson, Senior Program Manager of Women Engaged, “We have really done something incredible. It was organizing that led to historic turnout in the 2020 election and again in 2021.. However, the real work is set to begin as we work to defend and protect the gains we’ve won in voter access, as the Georgia legislature is set to meet starting Jan. 11th. We’ll have to remain vigilant to fight back against ongoing attacks on voting rights and attempts to silence Black voters.. The work doesn’t stop here and people shouldn’t stop supporting work from grassroots organizations like ours because we don’t get to this level of turnout without sustained and continuous engagement all year round, in and out of elections, like we do at Women Engaged. This is a time to invest deeper with our time, donations, and education into the issues paramount to Black women, girls, and femmes. That’s really what integrated voter engagement is about; It’s getting people involved beyond just the voting pieces but also taking active stances around the issues that impact their lives.  My work is aimed to empower “Black women, girls, and femmes, especially young people and LGBTQ+ folks.”

Women Engaged led voter registration and get out the vote campaigns that helped drive the historic turnout during the general election on Nov. 3rd. Anticipating a runoff, we continued our virtual activities to reach voters in Georgia to re-inspire them to turn out to vote for the local elections Dec. 1st and for the runoff election January 5th, including helping register new voters and ensure voters information was correct and up to date before the registration deadline on Dec. 7th. Lastly, our phone GOTV team was trained to respond to COVID-19 emergency assistance calls.  And, since March WE help connect more than 300 Georgia voters with emergency assistance information for nearby food pantries, utilities and rent payment assistance for examples.


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