2015 marks a watershed in the battle for racial equality, with countless acts of violence against minorities, from police racial profiling to the violent South Carolina church shooting of a prayer group – all reminding Americans that the search for justice is not over.
No American, regardless of race, ethnicity or religion, deserves to be denied their civil rights. But something has changed radically in America – a cynical and insensitive shift in tone when discussing who is truly American, excluding swaths of our community. Something devious and threatening to minority races and religions has crept into the nation’s social fabric.
The continuous hatred and disrespect emanating from various sections of American society, particularly against blacks, is particularly disappointing and frustrating for many migrants from the Caribbean. Most believed they were coming to a nation where overt racism was no longer relevant. However, many still find themselves living in communities where threats and hatred from racism constantly lurks.
Caribbean-Americans, as well as any other migrant group, cannot afford to sit back and let these atrocities prevail. Caribbean-Americans have made their mark in U.S. history, gaining respect for their achievements. They must continue to entrench themselves in the American society. These migrants didn’t come to America as refugees depending on the state to survive. They earned their place in the U.S. legally, adhering to U.S. laws. Thousands advanced to citizenship, earning power as voters – a power not to be taken lightly. This is the power to elect the right people from city commissions through to the U.S. Presidency. ensuring the civil rights of every community, race, religion in America is respected.
Despite the success of black Americans in various areas of American society, there are those who believe the black community isn’t commanding the respect it deserves, because it’s still not accepted as a powerful voting bloc similar to the Hispanic voting bloc.
The power of the black vote was recognized in 2008 when it played a pivotal role in electing President Obama, and again in 2012 when it again surprised pundits in their crucial support for the Obama coalition. In this current election season, no candidate has captured the same amount of enthusiasm and engagement among the community, which could mean that the black vote will revert to the relatively low pre-2008 election campaign season before Obama’s candidacy.
Despite this, it’s incumbent upon black voters to turn out in numbers that surpass 2008 and 2012. It’s by uniting as a consistent, powerful voting bloc that Blacks can best demand the respect they deserve. Black votes, including those of Caribbean-Americans, must matter emphatically in the election of those who yield authority, including judges, public defenders, property adjusters, mayors, school board members, city, county, state, and congressional representatives, as well as the U.S. president. Until every elected official recognizes the power of the black vote in getting them elected, blacks will continue to be marginalized.