Black Voters Matter hosts ‘blackout’ on the Set

Members of Black Voters Matter (left to right) Jamil Davis Florida State Organizing Manager, Danielle Brown, Deputy National Field Director, and Alexander Watkins Northeast Florida Region Organizer for BVM.
Photo courtesy: Jazlen Patrick.

Black Voters Matter hosted its first stop of the Take the Field Florida HBCU Tour at
Florida A&M University. The event took place from noon to 3 p.m. today on the Set.

“Blackout on the Set” allowed FAMU students to learn and network with representatives
from Black Voters Matters. Students were also able to take home free souvenirs and

Representatives stood present and ready to engage and educate students on the
importance of voting. FAMU student Jasmine Jones said this was her favorite part of the

“Meeting and networking with representatives trying to get us to vote was the best part,”
Jones said. “I’m glad they wanted to come out and talk to us.”

Take the Field is an initiative created by Black Voters Matter to encourage Black voter
engagement. The campaign will travel across the state to visit HBCUs as it provides
grants to student-led groups, host trainings and more to inform students of the
importance of youth activism.

Alexander Watkins, Northeast Florida region organizer for Black Voters Matter, spoke
more on this and the purpose of this initiative.

“As we go across the state our goal is to black out all other HBCUs with the goal of
building Black power by building our Black community, and by building our community
we can better connect our people to the resources that will help them to live more
fulfilled and sustainable lives,” Watkins said.

Watkins holds this campaign close to his heart from dealing with brutality and injustices
from a young age.

“I learned that in order to overcome we have to continue to fight,” Watkins said. “So I
took up the baton in the race of history and I began to fight because I saw that if we lay
down we’ll be beaten to death but if we stand up and fight back we have a chance to

A big part of this initiative is understanding voting suppression and stressing the
importance of voting.

Watkins said that he feels many people think that if they don’t participate that it does not
affect them, but this thinking is wrong, he said.

“We need everyone to vote. The more participation we have the greater voice that we
have and the greater opportunity that we have to truly wheel our power. We have to put
people in position that we can hold accountable, that accepts our accountability, and
that will fight for us, and the only people that will fight for us are people that come from
us,” Watkins said.

FAMU student Beona Washington said she agrees that voting is extremely important.

“It’s a way for us to voice how we feel through the higher ups,” Washington said.

Jones feels that we should take advantage of the right to vote based on our history.

“At a point in time we couldn’t vote, so I think it's very important that we should exercise
that now that we can,” Jones said.