Movie Night at Activist Afternoons
Activist Afternoons started off last Sunday with its normal volley of phone calls, letter writing, and postcards to voters in Massachusetts and far beyond, including to North Carolina’s 9th congressional district for the upcoming special election.
By 6pm, though, volunteers had transformed the co-working space into an ad hoc movie theater so we could screen Capturing the Flag, a documentary on efforts to combat voter suppression in the week preceding the November 2016 election in Cumberland County, NC.
Prior to the film, three women gave us the lowdown on voter suppression, one of the oldest tricks in the book to rig our democracy. Attorney Laverne Berry, the producer of Capturing the Flag, talked about how her work on voter participation led to her involvement with the film. Margaret Bourdeaux described how voter suppression thwarted her sister’s 2018 campaign. Aisha Dew, the Left of Center “battle station” organizer for North Carolina, charted her efforts to counteract voter suppression in 80 elections.
At one community center in Cumberland County, Laverne Berry witnessed 1200 people who attempted to vote and just 597 were able to do so. Across the state of North Carolina, 60,000 provisional ballots were filed, only 22,500 of these were fully counted. Across the country, 16 million people were purged from the rolls prior to the 2016 elections. This was the election that Donald Trump won, though he lost the popular vote.
Look for the next film in our series on protecting our vote in November, when we will screen the soon-to-be-released documentary, “Suppressed,” about voter suppression in Georgia.