Huffpost Black Voices

Local Elections Are How Black Voters Can 'Shake Up The Political Process'

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The death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, nearly a month ago sparked much more than outrage over a young man's death at the hands of a police officer. It began a re-examination of class disparity in America and became a jumping-off point for countless conversations about institutional racism.

Since, much discussion has centered on the actual effects of the Ferguson riots. Princeton University's chair of African American Studies, Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr., joined a HuffPost Live conversation Tuesday to talk about Ferguson's effects on black voting in this country and how focusing on local elections could make a difference for African Americans everywhere.

"Mayors are becoming more important in the distribution of resources and benefits in terms of impacting the everyday lives of black folks," Glaude Jr. told host Marc Lamont Hill. "Why can't we begin to put the emphasis on local, county and state congressional elections as the source of our organizing efforts?"

Ifeoma Ike, the co-creator and campaign director of Black and Brown People Vote, agreed with Glaude, saying black voters need to know how local officials can make a difference in their everyday lives.

"I do think that voter education is very important. I do disagree with earlier notions that while not as sexy as a national election, local elections actually impact the day-to-day lives of black and brown people in a much larger aspect than many national elections. Until we start explaining to people, 'This is what a mayor does. Your city council appoints the police chief. Your school board determines whether your kid is going to juvie or gifted and talented' -- those are the things that we need to star explaining to folks so that they know why they're showing up."

Catch the rest of the clip above, and watch the full HuffPost Live conversation here.

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