Shreveport Protesters held voter registration drive aimed at African Americans

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Shreveport protesters held a voter registration drive on day 2 of the 45 Days of Action Shreveport in front of the Caddo Parish Court House Tuesday morning. Anyone could register, but they wanted to target more African American voters.

Omari Ho-Sang is the organizer behind 45 Days of Action which holds a significance behind the number. Ho-Sang says that when people in positions of power and in law enforcement talk about due process it usually takes up to 45 or more days. She also says it’s tied into the Administration since President Trump is the 45th president.

“So we’re taking that back. It’s important for us to have our own process with our own sustained action. We’re paying attention nationally, but we’re paying attention locally to things that are not right,” said Ho-Sang.

Ashley McConnell and Shelby Rodriguez are a part of the group “White Women Do The Work” locally. The group encourages white women to exercise their privilege in order to help communities of color. Rodriguez says she’s been trying to figure out her place in the protests.

“I’ve been sitting around wringing my hands helplessly wanting to do something and so yesterday we decided the first thing we can do is try to get people to vote,” said Rodriguez, “So we just threw this together to try to encourage people to take this momentum and put it to action.”

Rodriguez says that in order to change the current climate of racial tensions you have to vote the hate out. She also says that the American government works for the people which means the people need to be involved. They held signs to grab potential voters off the street with their main focus on African Americans. Rodriguez says they’ve become more disenfranchised every year.

“It’s harder to get access to the polls. It’s harder to get registered with certain voter ID laws. It’s just a challenge and I feel like a lot of people think they’re vote doesn’t matter and after 400 years of abuse, Black people feel that way. I think it’s time that we take that back.”

The majority of the people who registered to vote where white. After tabling into the afternoon, about 30 people in total registered with only one-third of them being Black. Ho-Sang says that it doesn’t stop at simply registering. People will register to vote without actually voting.

“When we talk about the difference between a moment, a movement and an institution, that’s where voting comes in,” said Ho-Sang, “We keep electing folks over and over who are clearly showing that they don’t have our best interest at heart. So it’s important that we get out to vote, so we can replace those people and make sure that they stand by policy that will save our lives.”

Destiny Brown came to support the voter registration by also trying to grab potential voters. While asking two older white women walking by if they were registered, they scoffed at her. One woman condescendingly said, “Are you kidding me? I was registered to vote before you were born.” The blatant display of superiority is one of the reasons she wants everybody to vote.

“Thinking that your vote doesn’t count, it does. Especially on the local level,” said Brown.

One black man was encouraged to register and seemed excited about it. When asked for his ID and social security number though, he says he didn’t know it and became dismayed. While the women tried to encourage him to stay for more information he ended up walking away but promising to register online the next time he was at a computer.

Ho-Sang says that the resources for certain demographics aren’t available which keeps that group disenfranchised. That’s the reason she’s pushing for more action and more Black people at the polls.

“As a person. A human being. A person of color. A mother of color. I can’t stand aside and allow those gaps to continue because we have the power as people.”

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