SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A local organization dedicated to community action and racial equity borne out of the events that played out over the summer is pivoting protest to pursuing policy changes in the quest for racial justice.
45 Days of Action led several protests and called for sustained action for justice and accountability in Shreveport, throughout the state of Louisana, and around the nation when it originally formed in May following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Now, organizer Omari Ho-Sang says it’s time to focus on civic engagement and policy at the local and state levels.
“We have to transition and transfer that energy into policy because policy is what impacts our lives day today.”
Ho-Sang says the first priority is making sure re-districting fairly represents all voters.
“So when you think about what happened in Georgia happening, that was the ability for progressive folks, impacted folks, communities of color to utilize their voting power to make a difference when it came to key races. In states like Louisiana, they are trying to take the power away through the maps.”
The second goal is criminal justice reform and helping felons vote.
“Making sure those who got the right to vote, felons who got that right back to vote are actually voting. Over 40,000 folks were able to get their right back to vote, but only about one to two percentages of those folks have actually claimed that right.”
The third priority is preserving the improvements to the early voting election process, and the fourth is focusing on emergency rental assistance funding.
“The state received $24 million dollars last year and the state spent $1.7 million on housing assistance, so that’s not good at all right. So we need to make sure this money is being distributed to the people that need it.”
She says the organization will continue initiatives like voter registration drives and partnering with other local organizations, like Black Voters Matter.
“One protest is not enough, two protest is not enough, we have to have 45 days or even 45 years right really looking forward into the future, and really building out a holistic plan and bringing partners.”
Ho-Sang says they will patiently continue the work because change doesn’t happen overnight.