(Washington, D.C.) Most of ballots are tallied, and it's clear that the black community voted this year at the same or greater levels than they did four years ago. African Americans showed up at the polls in spite of dire predictions from pollsters and pundits that they would represent a smaller share of the electorate and in the face of a coordinated, rightwing effort to suppress voter turnout in communities of color. Following is a statement from Gerry Hudson, SEIU International Executive Vice President, regarding President Obama's victory and the African American vote.
"Tuesday was an incredible victory for the whole nation. Yes, President Obama needed African Americans to show up for him at the polls--just as he needed Latinos, women, whites and everyone who believes in the shared American value that if you work hard, you should be able to get ahead. Together, we voted for a vision of America that will live up to its promise that we are all in this together and rebuffed the idea that the government should only work for the elite few.
"African Americans overcame a coordinated effort to suppress black voter turnout in the form of restrictive voter ID laws and a Tea Party propaganda machine designed to intimidate voters at the polls. We took on these challenges and hurdles to make it clear to politicians across the political spectrum that our voices and our votes matter. We will not allow efforts to suppress our votes to prevail over our will to exercise our right to participate in this great democracy. We showed up at the polls, we stood in line for hours if we had to, and in some states we exceeded our turnout in 2008. The black community not only helped put President Obama over the finish line, we made a collective statement that we cannot be silenced.
"We turned out to vote because we know the future of our community is at stake. Mitt Romney and his allies represented a divisive vision of this country that doesn't embrace the wonderful diversity that enriches us all. From his false comments about President Obama and welfare to his dismissal of 47 percent as feeling "entitled," to his declaration that hardworking immigrants should "self deport," Mitt Romney made clear that he was the candidate for an elite, homogeneous America that has never existed.
"The America that does exist is full of diverse opinions and ideals but also recognizes we are all in this together and that everyone who plays by the rules and works hard should be able to get ahead. African Americans and a broad coalition of others voted on this vision. Now that the election is behind us, policy makers in Washington need to heed the will of the people and focus on getting this country on track."