WASHINGTON, D.C. — Anticipating the largest voter turnout in history – and ensuing problems at the polls – the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) left no stone unturned during a three-day Operation Big Vote Training Academy held in New Orleans last week to train field organizers on voter registration, mobilization, and voter protection. “Our job is to make sure each voter has an opportunity to cast a ballot that counts on November 4,” executive director of the NCBCP, Melanie L. Campbell, told over 60 community organizers from 14 states. “This intensive training is designed to prepare us for any challenges that may arise in the coming months.”
Lawyers, seasoned organizers, and technology experts conducted training sessions that ranged from best practices in nonpartisan voter education, volunteer recruitment, and voter protection; to integrating new technology tools and minding your health during this rigorous campaign.
“Bringing together an intergenerational mix of some of the hardest working public servants in the country created an opportunity for the seasoned veterans to teach the young people how to mobilize on the ground, while the youth taught veterans how to organize online,” Campbell added.
Sharon Hanshaw, executive director of Costal Women for Change in Biloxi, MS, said she learned a lot from the training and believes the campaign addresses the real concerns of workers on the ground. “We will continue to registering new voters, however, the larger focus of the Unity ’08 Black Campaign is to make sure voters verify their names on the voter rolls, locate their polling place in advance, and know their rights at the polls before they go cast their ballot,” she adds.
The NCBCP’s Unity ’08 Black Campaign is a non-partisan civic engagement initiative designed to inoculate, motivate, and mobilize Black voters to participate in the 2008 election.
Participants in the training represented a number of labor and non-profit organizations, including several executives from A. Philip Randolph Institute, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and local affiliates of the National Urban League, all major Unity ’08 Black Campaign partners. Other partners include American Urban Radio Networks and UniverSoul Circus.
Founded in 1976, the NCBCP is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to increasing African American participation in civil society. Current initiatives of the organization include Operation Big Vote, Black Youth Vote!, Black Women’s Roundtable, and Voices of the Electorate. The NCBCP has trained and engaged African American leaders and community activists in overcoming institutional barriers that have hindered the growth of Black communities politically, socially and economically.