Before, during and after the Nov. 8 midterm election in Georgia, Capital B Atlanta will be speaking with Black voters to hear your thoughts and share your stories. From the campaign trail to local events, “What Black Voters Are Saying” wants to document the issues most important to you. Want to share your story? Hit up politics reporter Chauncey Alcorn at firstname.lastname@example.org
As a first-time voter, Victoria Hughes already understands the importance of engaging in her civic duty.
Hughes is a sophomore majoring in business at Georgia State University. The 19-year- old Atlanta native says she was too young to vote in the 2020 presidential election, but says her parents kept her informed of ongoing political news, and stressed why voting was so crucial.
“I know it’s common for people to feel like my generation doesn’t really care what’s going on in politics,” Hughes said. “But that’s further from the truth. We see and know everything that’s going on, and I believe that young Black people will be the first at the polls this year.”
For two days, Capital B Atlanta spent time on Atlanta college campuses talking to students about what their biggest concerns are ahead of the midterm elections in November.
From crime and public safety to inflation, here’s what the Black students in Atlanta had to say.
Charles Moore, 20, Morehouse College, junior, software engineering
“I think the biggest concern for everyone should be inflation. I live off campus and luckily, I have help from my parents, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s expensive. Rent prices are going higher, food prices are high, and it’s hard to be a college student navigating that.”
“Some of my classmates don’t have any help and are looking for resources that can help them with cutting the overall cost of living. Where are the politicians who are working to solve that problem?”
Chelsey Scott, 18, Clark Atlanta University, freshman, mass communication
“Crime is an issue near the AUC and the Westside of Atlanta, period. What makes it even more complicated is the lack of trust between us and the police. We didn’t forget about what happened with Taniyah [Pilgrim] and Messiah [Young]. We want a police force that will protect us, and we want city officials who will ensure that happens.”
Xavier Williams III, 18, Clark Atlanta University, freshman, cybersecurity
“I work, so I can help my parents with some of the costs of me attending college, but it’s still really expensive right now, especially with me making minimum wage. This midterm, I’m voting for public officials who recognize how hard it has been for us to maintain the cost of living. We can’t pay this cost of living when it’s still OK to make $7.25 [minimum wage] here.”
Imani Willis, 21, Georgia State University, senior, nursing
“I think there is a lot of misinformation being spread as a means of distracting our generation about the real issues at hand. I just really hope people are taking the time to research their politicians so they can choose the best vote for them in November. With all this propaganda and hate being spread back and forth, it’s becoming harder to associate what’s real with what’s fake.”
Kayla Jones, 19, Spelman College, sophomore, political science
“We just want and need access to easy voting. I remember reading about the disenfranchisement of Black voters that was happening right here in Fulton County and how people were standing in lines for hours just to cast a vote in 2020. With the changes in voting laws here in Georgia, I am really hoping Black people know the new laws and are prepared to face even more difficulty.”
Zay Brown, 22, Georgia State University, law student
“My biggest concern ahead of the midterms is definitely the changes in the voting process. I was one of the people who was actually purged out of the registration system despite nothing changing about my address. Only reason I found out was because they had voting registration clinics happening on campus and one of the workers asked me to just check my status. I’m certain it’s thousands of people who don’t know that they aren’t registered to vote and will show up on Election Day just to be turned away. I feel like that hasn’t been made known as much as it should be.”
Jaylin Lewis, 23, Georgia State University, law student
“I’m also concerned about the voting access people will have on Election Day. We saw what happened in 2020 with the presidential election here in Georgia. Who’s to say that’s not what happened in the last election between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp? Who’s to say those obstacles and challenges won’t be present in this election?”
“I think Kemp changed the rules conveniently in time for the upcoming election because he was threatened by the turnout of Black voters in the 2018 election for Stacey Abrams, and he should be threatened this time. Black people are still going to show up and show out just like we did in 2018 and just like we did in 2020. You can’t hold us down anymore.”