While growing up in Alabama, I was warned often: If you want to grow, get out of the South.
For a minute there I daydreamed about snatching up opportunities while living in the glamor of New York City. But now that I’m noticing the stigmatizing statements people make about the South, I’m like, “Nah.”
Because the South is home, and you fight for your home.
The young Black people of the South have something to say, but are people listening?
Reckon is, because we recognize how important young Black folks have always been to shaping the South.
This year, American University recognized Black voters under 30 as a crucial voting bloc. After surveying 1,215 Black people in six battleground states in July, researchers reported that nearly 50 percent of young Black respondents planned to vote for someone other than Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, were unsure if they would vote or said definitively that they would not vote on Election Day.
This is because young Black voters are more disengaged with the political process than their elders because they have more distrust in elected officials to address their needs.
But who are the people behind those percentages and political colors? Through what lens do they see their futures playing out in a region that raised them?
Young, Southern and Black is a new Reckon series that amplifies the young, Black voices often lost in the political noise. With President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris laying out their post-election plans, it seems fitting for them to hear from those who are creating the future they want to see in the South.
In the coming weeks, we’ll introduce you to some of these young people. They are entering political arenas and fostering the change they want to see in their communities. They are the underdogs who are fighting for a more inclusive South for the LGBTQ+ community. They are crafting new narratives of the South through art and business and starting their own nonprofits.
They are the ones who call the South home.
And you fight for your home.
If you’re Black, under 30 and have something to say about the future of the South, email Reckon reporter Starr Dunigan at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach her via Twitter and Facebook. While you’re at it, consider joining the Black Magic Project Facebook group, where we talk about topics concerning Black, southern community and culture.