YBLOC’s Black Ballots, Black Futures 2022 is an Unstoppable Voters Project – a series of Center for Artistic Activism supported works that protect the freedom to vote with creativity and innovation.

Written by Abdul Dosunmu, Founder & Chief Strategist of YBLOC

Black Ballots, Black Futures 2022

In the 2022 midterm election, the Young Black Lawyers’ Organizing Coalition (YBLOC) set out to mobilize a corps of young Black lawyers and law students to help protect and empower Black voters through grassroots voter protection organizing: working on the ground through the institutions Black voters know and trust to provide them with the information they need to successfully cast their vote and help their communities do the same.

The Black Ballots, Black Futures tour in Dallas, Texas
YBLOC Voter Empowerment Tour 2022

The Problem

Black voters face a new era of voter suppression that threatens our political voice. Since 2020, 440 voter suppression bills have been introduced in 49 states, according to the Brennan Center. Many of our focus states have become epicenters of voter suppression. Given these headwinds facing inclusive democracy, it was critical that we proactively worked in a community-centered and culture-driven way to educate Black voters to identify and resist voter suppression tactics to ensure that their ballots were counted.

The Solution

Over the course of the election season, we hosted a powerful Voter Empowerment Tour, fully funding over 100 Black lawyers and law students from across the nation to travel to key battleground states to empower Black communities to fight voter suppression and insist on our right to be heard. The tour was among the largest organized mobilizations of Black lawyers and law students in this election, featuring Black law students from 5 law schools — NYU, Howard, Columbia, UNT Dallas, and SMU — and lawyers from a wide variety of practice areas.

We were proud to center culture and community in our work, working with Black faith communities, Black businesses, and HBCU-focused organizations to meet and empower Black voters where they are.

Lessons Learned

1) Partner, partner, partner: as the old saying goes, there is power in partnerships. 

2) Innovation is your friend: don’t be afraid to imagine and pursue new possibilities for impact, particularly as they relate to creative activism. 

3) Communities know best what they need: make sure you’re listening to those most impacted by the issue you’re trying to address.

The Black Ballots, Black Futures tour in Raleigh, North Carolina

Created by the Young Black Lawyers’ Organizing Coalition (YBLOC)

Black Ballots, Black Futures 2022 hosted over 50 activations across Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas, reaching tens of thousands of Black voters.

What is Unstoppable Voters?

Through the Center for Artistic Activism’s expansive Unstoppable Voters program, we support creatively risk-taking, strategic, ambitious organizations, people, and projects that address urgent and specific anti-voter attacks. We provide training and community building for individuals and groups who are passionate about protecting the freedom to vote and bringing the needed innovation to that fight. And we provide funding and support to help manifest that innovation and bring real, measurable impact. To date, we’ve helped over 80 organizations and over 900 individual activists, artists, and everyone in between make voting accessible, safe, joyful, powerful, and irresistible.

Learn more about Unstoppable Voters and how creativity and culture are leading the way