Black History Month event brings attention to the importance of the vote

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PHOTO BY ARWA DAHIR/THE PIONEER

By Arwa Dahir, CONTRIBUTOR
Since 1976, every year the United States observes Black History Month in February to commemorate and celebrate the contributions of African Americans to American history. The month-long celebration allows Americans to remember and reflect on African American’s struggle to fight for freedom and equality.
This year, in particular, is special as it coincides with the 150th anniversary of the fifteenth amendment and the 100th anniversary of the nineteenth amendments, which granted Black men and women the right to vote. Henceforth the theme for 2020 Black History Month is African Americans and the vote. The anniversaries that are being celebrated and the upcoming Presidential Primary Elections have placed BHM 2020 as arguably one of the most important of all time.
Last week, The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Silicon Valley chapter organized an event “Black Women Talk” which looks to gather Black women in the community to discuss the importance of the Black vote whistle looking to inform community members about the several propositions that will be voted on in the March ballets. The Silicon Valley chapter has been a standing pillar in the community for nearly 25 years. Sheila Johnson-Heacock, founding member of the NCBW100, Silicon Valley chapter, talked about how the organization maintained its longevity.
“The Silicon Valley chapter was founded in 1996, we have been here for 24 years to talk about political action, positive changes from women and girls of color. This entails all the walks that encompass Black life. We have committees for education, health, economic empowerment, and political action and you are seeing today what our political action is,” Johnson-Heacock said.
While commemorating BHM, the NCBW100 hopes to lead the community into political action thoroughly discussing the propositions on the ballot and how they will affect the community.
The California 2020 ballet will include a state-wide bond proposal, known as Proposition 13. The proposition is asking voters if the state can access the general fund for approximately fifteen billion dollars to cover for state-wide school infrastructure and modernization. It’s important to note that California provides public education to 9.2 million students, from pre-school to four-year universities.
“This proposal is different from others before because for the first time it authorizes funds for pre-schools when it has always been for k-12 and higher education. The proposal is also unusual in the way that it earmarks more of the funds for modernization rather than building new schools because there are so many schools that are falling into disrepair,” Martha McBeattle from the League of Women Voters said.
Additionally, community members have raised their concern about the security and the integrity of the elections. Natalie Goolsby, Election Specialist at Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters, the security and safety measure Santa Clara County has taken to improve the voting system.
“We’re going to be having our Wi-Fi established at the voting centers, so we won’t be using anyone else,” Goolsby said.