Black Community Leaders Urge Reluctant Voter To Hold On To Hope

Mar 3, 2020

Tuesday March 3rd is Primary Election Day in North Carolina, and polls are open until 7:30 this evening.  As I traveled around between Brunswick and New Hanover County polling locations, I spoke with voters about the issues that drove them to vote.  At most stops, I saw people electioneering – that is campaigning for their candidates.  But not at Williston Middle School.

The first person I meet at Williston, a precinct that is solidly Democratic and mostly made up of African American voters, is the white husband of a Democratic candidate for county commissioner.   He's the only person electioneering in sight.

I stop a voter as he emerges from Williston.  He doesn’t want me to identify him.  And, yes, he voted.  But he doesn’t feel good about it. 

"But I will vote.  I’ll vote.  I have voted.  I’m just sharing with you some of the disparities that I see and it feels hopeless."

Hollis Briggs and Deborah Dicks Maxwell, two community leaders, join us. 

Hollis Briggs:  "We’ve convinced a lot of people to vote.  Matter of a fact there's a guy named [xxx].  He's never voted a day in his life until just the last election and he felt good about voting.  But somebody had to entice him to vote.  We had to explain the system to him and how the system works in order for him to have confidence to go vote.  

But my reluctant voter, let’s call him Joe, says he’s 61 years old, and in his lifetime, he’s never seen an American President do anything for the black community. He’s trying now to be part of the solution.

"But it’s difficult."

What’s his part of the solution?

"…Being involved in community affairs and trying to help the youth who are definitely feeling hopeless and hopelessness.

Deborah Dicks Maxwell of the NAACP, though, is traveling from precinct to precinct today. 

"I will have hope.  I will have hope that the people will use their collective voice and vote to make change...  Don't give up.  Don't give up hope."