As Wisconsin’s elections approach, one non-profit is calling for voters to start talking about race.
On the eve of last week’s primary, the group Kids Forward declared the start of a new campaign, called Race to the Polls. Spokesperson Wenona Wolf says it’s really more of a movement.
“The real goal of the campaign is to get voters talking about people of color, talking about issues that face people of color, and really looking at some of the great work that organizations of color and people of color are doing here in Wisconsin,” Wolf said. “So although the primary is over, it’s just the start for us. We’re going to continue these conversations into November.”
They won’t stop there. Race to the Polls plans on stimulating discussions year-round.
Wolf says the group started the campaign because many politicians don’t consider people of color until election time.
“We want issues regarding race—conversations about race—to happen all the time,” Wolf said. “And that when we’re creating public policies as a state we are thinking about what policies are going to help or harm communities of color. Because we know historically systematic racism and institutionalized racism have really had a negative impact on communities of color in our state.”
The group intentionally does not promote specific policies. They want voters to come to their own conclusions.
But Race to the Polls does provide a website to help voters manage complex elections. They are also running a “digital campaign,” Wolf says, to connect voters and people of color over social media.
Kids Forward is striving for full economic equality between races, but Wolf says they can measure success in other ways too. “For instance, when we think about communities of color we start hearing that their experiences as people of color are positive and not negative,” Wolf said. “I also think when we have better representation in our state, when we are electing people of color, when people of color are represented in some of our biggest companies, when we have diversity, and people have access to more opportunities than they do now.”
Wolf says there is reason to be optimistic. Issues that matter to people of color, as well as women, are being discussed more often.
To carry out the campaign, Kids Forward is teaming up with non-profits Race to Equity and the Wisconsin Budget Project.
The Race to the Polls website is racetothepolls.org. The midterm election is on Nov. 6.
Jackson Danbeck reported on this story for WORT News.