“What are we gonna do by Nov. 8? Vote!”: The Arc of Voter Justice tour stops by Morgan

The Arc of Voter Justice tour, aimed at registering 10 million Black voters, stopped by Morgan State University Friday to register students to vote, hand out free “banned” books and remind the university of the importance of voting.


Trae Mitchell

The Arc of Voter Justice tour stopped by Morgan State University on Friday to register students to vote on Oct. 14

Trae Mitchell, Managing Editor

Paul Anthony, a freshman computer science major, has never voted in an election.

In fact, before Friday, he never registered to vote. But after stopping by the Arc of Voter Justice event, his perspective of voting shifted.

“I can see why they want us young people to vote,” said Anthony.

“[You] don’t want nobody else making decisions for you,” he said.

The Arc of Voter Justice Bus Tour stopped by Morgan State University on Friday to encourage students to register to vote.

The tour is a collaboration between human and voting rights organizations such as the Transformative Justice Coalition, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Black Voters Matter.

The aim is to register 10 million more Black voters during its 26-city tour in preparation for the upcoming election season.

Daryl Jones, board chair of the Transformative Justice Coalition, said that this season is one of the most pivotal that he has seen in his career.

This year’s midterm elections in Maryland will be critical as major seats like the governor, comptroller and attorney general are all up for grabs this season.

However, Jones said young Black voters are not voting this season because of the barriers between voters of color and the ballot box, like strict voter photo ID laws, polling relocations or reductions, and a national cutback on early voting.

“We need to hold those accountable who created the hurdles in the first place,” said Jones.

For Heather Fleming, the senior organizer for the African American Policy Forum social justice advocacy group, it is also vital for young voters to understand the connection between voter suppression and the national increase in book bans.

To combat this, her organization joined the tour to give out books to people who register at events. Thus far, the organizations have given out over 6,000 books and registered hundreds of people.

Jones and his organization believe that registering more Black voters could have a substantial impact on the midterm elections in November and may potentially have a lasting effect on the nation’s politics.

But for Kimberlé Crenshaw, academic and credited founder of critical race theory, the Black vote is about more than policy. It is about the survival of democracy.

She said the country is experiencing political turmoil following the Black Lives Matter protests, the murder of George Floyd and the Jan. 6 insurrection.

However, Crenshaw believes that Black voters—and more importantly, young Black voters—can turn the tide for the nation.

“It is their turn [young Black voters] to shape the future they want to create,” she said. “The young people will save us.”

Marcus Arbery agrees with Crenshaw’s sentiment. He said that it was not until his son Ahmaud Arbery, was chased, shot and murdered by two white men in southern Georgia that he understood the weight of the Black vote.

“When Ahmad got murdered, we had a corrupt DA in the office,” said Arbery. “It took me to lose my son to realize how serious it was to get out and vote.”

Barbara R. Arnwine, founder and president of the Transformative Justice Coalition, reminded Morgan students that voting for representatives, senators, and other city officials directly impacts issues like bans on abortions, Black maternal health, and the Black community’s access to healthcare and policing.

“Don’t tell me that Black Lives Matter and we don’t use our vote to make sure they matter,” she said.