Taking Power This Coming Primary Election

By Alicia Boyd

If you are like most people in NYC you really don’t pay attention to the Primaries, you wait until the November election and then you go out and vote, believing that your vote matters.  However, what you may not know or even have paid attention is the fact that in truth, the major election is the Democratic Primaries that will be held in June of 2021.

Why?  Because we are a democratic city and there is an almost 99% change that if a candidate wins a democratic primary race they will win the race in November hands down.

So in actually, if a person really wants to make their vote count and candidates want to win, then the democratic primaries is where the true action happens! 

Now that we got that out the way, the next issue is knowing the candidates. Unlike the November election where there is only one person under the democratic category making your choice easy, the Primaries are filled with choices.

However, almost 30% of the people who walk into a voting booth don’t know the candidate and a lot of times votes are cast based upon a name, gender identification, ethnic background, hair do, appearance, or a feeling etc.  

The question however we need to ask ourselves is – has that been working for us?  Have we been voting for the right candidate, one who is supporting our needs, advocating for our issues, or have we been getting sell-outs, the folks who say after they get elected that it is not their job to protect you, to protect your homes, your schools, your supermarkets.  Not in their words of course but in their deeds. Do you see the homeless crisis getting worse as tall buildings reach for the sky, as our elected officials talk about the creation of affordable housing that is never affordable for us!

As they say, nothing earned is nothing gained.  This means if you truly want your vote to count, you are going to put some effort into it.  You are going to have to know who the candidates are, what are their principals, who is backing them, where are they getting their money, what has been their history of involvement in the community etc.

Attending a “Candidates Forum” is one way to do that. These formal forums are where the moderator and you (via questions submitted) get to ask questions of candidates running for office.  Sometimes the questions can be reveling about a candidate.  Do they know the issues? What promises are they making? What are theirs view on schools, housing, police etc. These questions can shed some light on what type of elected official they will be.

Am I saying that attending Candidates Forums will solve our problem or guarantee that we pick the right person?  No but at least it is a start.  Just image if that 30% took the time to get to know the candidate and then voted in the right person.  We could actually see things change for us.  So do yourself a favor make your vote count, attend a forum, vote in the Primaries on June 22, 2021 and just maybe the next person you vote for will the right one.

Alicia Boyd is the founder of The Movement to Protect the People, MTOPP.  She is a political activist who has been active in Flatbush/Crown Heights area, fighting against gentrification, displacement and real estate interests that do not benefit the community.  She has filed several successful lawsuits, as a pro se litigant, against development along the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

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