FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–November 19, 2019
Power Coalition for Equity and Justice Propels Huge Boost in Turnout Among Voters of Color in 2019 Louisiana Elections
After months of hard work and more than 1.1 million attempted voter contacts, the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice and our partners saw our efforts pay off, as voters of color turned out in huge numbers to make their voices heard and their power felt at the polls.
NEW ORLEANS, LA | November 19, 2019—While political parties, candidates, and outside interest groups were busy spending tens of millions of dollars on TV, radio, and digital ads for Louisiana’s 2019 statewide elections, the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice (PCEJ–powercoalition.org) and our partners were out knocking on doors, hosting community events and candidate forums, calling and texting voters, and working with churches and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to engage and turn out voters of color across Louisiana as part of our Power Voter campaign.
Ultimately, we made more than 1.1 million voter contact attempts (~325,000 door knocks, ~310,000 phone calls, and ~510,000 texts) while centering the issues that communities of color have told us are most important to them.
That hard work paid off. People of color were the deciding factor in the November 16 election, turning out at historically high rates all over the state. That turnout was especially high in the places where the Power Coalition and our partners–including Voice of the Experienced (VOTE), Step Up Louisiana, VAYLA, Louisiana Budget Project, Black Voters Matter, Crossroads Campaigns, and many others–focused our efforts.
People of Color in New Orleans, Jefferson Parish, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Alexandria, and Lafayette all stood up and made sure they were counted. After the primary, we teamed up with Together Louisiana, a statewide, faith-based community organizing group, to further amplify our efforts by going even deeper into those places.
But this wasn’t about one election. It was one more step in a statewide movement that the Power Coalition and our partners have been building for the past five years. We have consistently been talking to infrequent voters of color and creating real opportunities for them to engage.
“We are not here for one issue or one election,” says Ashley Shelton, Executive Director of PCEJ. “We are here to build a movement. Black, Latinx, Vietnamese and Indigenous People in Louisiana have finally been seeing some real progress on the issues they care about, and they’re ready for more.”
Shelton cites criminal justice reform–including last year’s passage of the unanimous jury amendment–fights for affordable housing, and access to healthcare as important accomplishments that people of color are excited about. She also notes that there’s still a long way to go.
“After five years of touring the state and listening to communities, I can tell you that our people want greater economic opportunity, like raising the minimum wage and equal pay for women,” says Shelton. “They want to continue reforming our justice system. They want a state budget that isn’t balanced on the backs of low- and moderate-income working people. They want affordable housing and child care. And they want their elected officials to be accountable to them, which means we need fair and equitable redistricting in 2021. Those are the issues we’ll continue to fight for in the years to come.”
“The end of the election is not the end of our Power Voter Campaign,” according to Janea Jamison, PCEJ’s Program Manager. “We will continue asking people to pledge to vote, take part in the 2020 U.S. Census, and hold their elected officials accountable. As we move into 2020 and beyond, we want voters to continue engaging with us and with the political process on a year-round basis.”
The Power Coalition’s success is also another example of what happens when women of color build and lead social justice movements, especially in the South. By focusing on statewide coalition-building, direct contact with voters, and outreach to HBCUs and faith communities, PCEJ is building a foundation for long-term progressive change in Louisiana that’s led by the people who are most directly impacted by bad policy and traditional power dynamics, namely, people of color.
The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice works to build voice and power in traditionally ignored communities, with a focus on communities of color. We are a coalition of groups from across Louisiana whose mission is to organize in impacted communities, educate and turn out voters, and fight for policies that create a more equitable and just system in Louisiana.
What: The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice and our partner organizations made more than 1.1 million voter contact attempts during the 2019 statewide election season, leading to a huge jump in turnout among Voters of Color, as we continue building a people-centered progressive movement in Louisiana.
Who: Power Coalition for Equity and Justice (PCEJ), Voice of the Experienced (VOTE), Step Up Louisiana, VAYLA, Crossroads Campaigns, New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, Jericho Road, Black Voters Matter, Together Louisiana, Louisiana Budget Project, Movement Voter Project, Women With a Vision, Louisiana Policy Institute for Children
Ashley Shelton, Executive Director, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, (225) 802-2435, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Robins-Brown, Communications Director, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, (504) 256-8196, email@example.com