Maryland’s ‘Power of the Black Vote’ symposium encourages voters to get to the polls

The Power of the Black Vote annual symposium went virtual this year.

While the event was online, the message was the same as in past years: Local African American leaders want the history of voting to encourage people to get to the polls.

YellowPain’s song, “My Vote Don’t Count” kicked off the symposium, put on each year by the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture.

The focus of the virtual event was on the history of African Americans and the vote in the state of Maryland, and included performances by local artists, tours of museums and calls to step up and vote from several local politicians.

Lopez Matthews, a commissioner with the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture, said if black voters don’t go to the polls then change won’t come.

“Teach people that if they become an active voter those politicians will then care about what they have to say,” Matthews said.

“Your life experiences matter, your voices matter, your representation matters,” said Arienne Jones, speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates.

Commissioner Maya Davis of the Maryland State Archives went over the struggle Black voters have faced over the years.

“We’re giving ourselves hope,” she said. “‘Hey, if we came through that, we can definitely come through whatever’s going on today.'”

The video above includes musical performances, virtual museum tours and more.

“My ancestors literally died so that I can have the right to walk into my polling location, pull that lever and decide who I want to represent me,” said Undra Duncan, a Howard University graduate and founder and creator of clothing company Undra Celeste NY.

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