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 email@example.com.
We are just under three months away from Georgia’s midterm election, and Black voters have a lot to say.
At campaign stops in Conyers and Stonecrest last week, supporters of U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock were vocal about inflation. Warnock visited the majority-Black suburbs to help energize his base two days after President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law.
In Decatur, at the Black Census Block Party, attendees shared their views about the state of politics in Georgia. The event was organized by the Black Futures Lab, a nonprofit group exploring new ways of engaging Black communities across the country and helping them build political power.
Capital B Atlanta was on the scene asking Black voters about the issues important to them.
Here’s what we learned.
Vic Kennedy, 25, scheduling associate and teacher’s assistant, Brookhaven
“I want the elected leaders to understand that the Republican Party is currently trying to engage in a culture war that’s not relevant to most people’s everyday lives. They’re trying to scapegoat Black people, trans people, gay people, and other minorities in order to distract people from the genuine issues, such as climate change or rampant inflation due to corporate greed.”
Reajon Alexander, 36, custodian, Decatur
“A lot of the issues that we see are systemic. I want to see reform in the political offices as far as not being led by money, but actually placing resources within our community that will help our young men get out of the system, meaning start putting trades back into our communities so we can begin to build that middle class back so our young men won’t be so dependent on the entertainment industry, as well as the sporting industry.”
Lillie Huddleston, Parkview
“I think it’s really important to make sure that we are having access, everybody, to be able to vote. I’m very concerned about the fact that laws have changed, and it’s very difficult, even with how you draw [redistricting] lines. That’s concerning to me, that it changes and it makes it difficult for people to vote early. And I think that voting should be accessible. People have worked for years and years for people to have the right to vote. And then all of these hurdles and barriers have been put in place that make it difficult for people to exercise their rights.”
Aurelia McCollough, 66, lab tech, Acworth
“A lot of people can’t afford their housing because they’re not making enough money. So people are getting put out their housing, can’t afford the rent, and they’re not doing so well. If they would let people make more money, then people can afford to buy houses and rent.”
Trina Hayslett, psychologist, Parkview
“I can’t emphasize how important this election is on every level from city council to the governorship right now. My feeling, as a psychologist, of course, is I’m really focused on health care, and specifically mental health care. I was very happy to hear about the 9-8-8 number, but how is that going to be utilized locally instead of calling the police? What happens after someone calls 9-8-8, what services are available for those people in our community?”
Dr. Freda Hammonds, 61, retired, Stone Mountain
“For me personally, our impact is fuel. My husband and I, we’re all over this community with our advocacy work that we do. We drive two separate cars and we’re at two separate meetings. I think we’re gassing up three times a week, so that impacts us. …
“I used to fill my car [with] $55 a week. I’m doing that three times a week. That has taken a hit on my bank account.”
Dale Hicks, 64, pastor, Conyers
“Taxes on the mortgage, gas, electric, most utilities have gone up. Clothing, food has gone up. It’s making a major impact on the community throughout the state. People are struggling just trying to survive in this economy now. We have people in office that do not care about the common folk, the working folk. These people are the backbone of this country. And when you neglect the people who are the backbone, it creates a problem, a systemic problem.”
Jo Handy-Sewell, 70, retired retail executive, Stone Mountain
“Thank God for retirement. We had decent paying jobs at the time, and we stayed on those jobs long enough to earn retirement and to earn a good Social Security benefit. What’s happening now is those jobs don’t exist anymore. And the young folks that are working now, they have no savings. … Inflation is killing them. They’re getting paid, not a living wage, not even a sustainable wage. They’re having to work three and four jobs. God help the single mother that’s raising two or three kids.”
Vanessa Cox-Logan, 49, political consultant, Jonesboro
“Mainly because of COVID and the kids coming back home, the food bill is [the] heaviest impact. Even though they’re back in school, grocery shopping is outrageous.”
Cox-Logan estimates that her grocery bill has gone up “probably 50%” over the last year or so.
“If you’re at that middle income where you don’t qualify for public assistance, you make just right on the margin, you can’t qualify for anything, so what you would normally be spending on household things, you spend them now on groceries.”