A North Carolina labor organizer talks about the value of Black, working-class voters in the 2022 election. (Shutterstock) Black Voters Matter
A North Carolina labor organizer talks about the value of Black, working-class voters in the 2022 election. (Shutterstock)

A worker from Charlotte on how crucial it is for working-class North Carolinians to vote this year. 

Do I have enough money to put food on the table? Do I buy groceries or do I pay my electricity bill first? When will my next paycheck arrive? 

These are questions that I — and workers like me — constantly ask ourselves. 

As someone who starts work at 4:30 a.m. and works 10-hour shifts, the struggle to make ends meet feels never-ending. Especially when the cost of living keeps rising faster than my paycheck. 

That’s why I joined my union, SEIU, Workers United – Southern Region: because I saw first hand how workers coming together and rising up could make a difference. Together, we’ve fought for and won raises and changes to our working conditions that make life better for all of us.

I have felt the power we have coming together and showing up for each other at work, and there is one thing that I know for certain: We must all come together and show up to vote on Nov. 8 if we want to make progress. 

MAGA Republicans expect that Black and working-class voters like me will not show up to vote because they have continued to make it harder to make our voices heard. But we must show them and the entire nation that we will show up at those polls — because our democracy and rights are at stake in this election.

As seen in states across the country, MAGA Republicans are seeking to make it harder for people who look like me to vote. Look at what happened in June last year: Legislators in North Carolina decided to make voting by mail harder. And according to the Brennan Center for Justice, Black voters were the first people to feel the impact, as we are the most likely to request mail-in and absentee ballots leading up to Election Day. 

The intention behind the effort to decrease the ease of voting is clear: MAGA Republicans know that when Black and working-class voters turn out, they lose. So they seek to restrict our ability to make our voices heard. 

But we must not give in. 

While it’s true that Black and working-class folks may have limited time given the demands of work, we can all make a little time to figure out two things: how we plan to vote in November, and which candidates understand the needs and priorities of our communities. 

It’s really simple: First, check whether or not you’re registered to vote through the North Carolina State board of Election’s website. If you’re not registered, get on that. Second, make a plan for how you’re going to vote in November — whether it be early voting or voting on election day, Nov. 8. 

But that’s not all. Third, do your research and find out which candidates – from the federal all the way down to the local level – will support your rights, who will make your life better, and who will protect our democracy. This may seem like a large commitment, but, luckily, there are numerous candidates running for office who are much better suited for office than current incumbents. 

As election day nears, Black and working-class people must also spend time talking to their family, friends, and colleagues about the stakes of this election, urging them to register to vote, and informing them of the candidates running for office. If we each have just one conversation a day between now and Election Day, we can all make a difference in who ends up winning on Nov. 8.

Regardless of what anyone says, every voter has the power to change things for the better on Nov. 8. More than ever before, we must all show up to the ballot box and make it clear that we are unafraid to hold people accountable and make our voices heard. 

After all, our very rights, lives, and democracy are on the line. We’ve done it before in the South — let’s do it again.