Civil Rights Groups, Black Fraternities & Sororities Discuss Importance of the Black Vote

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In the 2020 election, one of the key demographics for the Biden/Harris ticket was African Americans.

According to NBC News exit polls, 87% of African Americans voted for the President and Vice-President-Elect.

Akia Callum is one of the many people with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People who worked to get more people out to the polls.

"It's important to think about the power of the Black vote and especially thinking about how long our ancestors have fought for us to be in this position," said Callum. "It's important to have people well informed and understand the importance of taking part in the democratic process."

An NAACP worker helps a potential voter register to vote ahead of the 2020 election. (Credit: NAACP Waterbury's Youth Council).

NAACP chapters around the state door-knocked and hosted several events like voting drives and candidate forums to target African Americans and offer information about the 2020 election.

"It's important for the people in our community to know who they're putting in office," said Amari Brantley, president of the Waterbury NAACP Pride Youth Council. "It would be different if we were given the right to vote to start with, and so voting for me proves more value, especially as a young Black man."

Keren Prescott founded Power Up Connecticut and while she's excited that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the president and vice president-elect, she tells NBC Connecticut that there is still change that needs to happen.

"The fight is far from over," said Prescott. "It sounds great, it looks great, it might even feel great to some, but the work is not done."

Black fraternities and sororities have worked through the years to ensure that African Americans and communities of color are well-informed about the importance of voting.

"We are celebrating the moment but we are back at work because we understand that work is still required and there's much work to do," said Brittney Yancy, the social action chair for Alpha Kappa Alpha's Epsilon Omicron Omega chapter. "We belong to a long tradition of community uplift and collective action."

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, just one of the nine Black fraternities and sororities that make up what's known as the Divine 9. The nine organizations have a collective goal of helping to improve the Black community and other communities of color.

"The organizations came together and we wanted to let our elected officials know that we're here, that we're going to activate the people to vote," said Tyron Harris, president of Alpha Phi Alpha's Beta Sigma Lambda chapter. "We want to see better funding when it comes to affordable housing and better health care in our communities.

Ayesha Clarke is the social action chair for Hartford's Aluma chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated and mentions that it's important to hold those in office accountable.

"If you’re not really focused on the Black agenda and really the things that we need to survive and what we need to progress this world, then we say that your seat is not safe," said Clarke.

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