LEVEL Men, We Need to Talk for a Minute

Don’t let this impeachment talk throw you. We have work to do. And I need your help.

Photo: adamkaz/Getty Images

Dear Fellas:

Can I ask a favor?

I don’t want to nag. I don’t want to swivel my neck. I don’t want to throw out stats and yell. I just want to chat.

On the morning of November 9, 2016, I woke up and walked over to my front door to get the newspaper. The night before, I fell asleep not knowing who had won the presidential election. For months, we all knew it would be Hilary Clinton, full stop. We were expecting to go from one historic election to another. But overnight, it was a gut-wrenching switch-up from what many of us thought it would be. I opened the door, looked at the newspaper headline and signed heavily. I’ve been sighing heavily ever since.

So, how did it happen? How on earth did this man become president? Over the last three years, we’ve all yelled out into the void. Fifty-three percent of all White women voted for him! His base was electrified because of the economy! This is punishment for a Black president.

Yes. All of that.

But I need to talk about you. About us.

In 2016, Black folks had the highest decline in voter turnout ever. Nearly 1 million less than in 2012, for President Barack Obama’s second term.

We can talk about why we didn’t show up — from apathy to suppression. But I don’t want to talk about any of that. I want to focus on now.

In less than a year, there will be a presidential election. I don’t want to talk about the issues and the candidates. That’s your business. And if you voted for our current president, you don’t align with my interests so I’m not talking to you anyway.

If you don’t want to see a second term for this man, can you please double check and see if you are registered to vote. If you’re not sure if you can vote, can you please figure that out, too? If there’s a young man in your life that looks up to you: son, nephew, student, friend — can you send him this story, too? If you’re not sure who you want to vote for, can you figure it out in the next 11 months? When you go to the barbershop or church or work — can you ask your boy if he’s registered?

I really don’t want to nag. But Black women are notorious for coming out en masse and they generally vote with similar interests, even if the numbers are declining as a whole. I need you to start gearing up now.

I know for the men in my life, a to-do list stuck on the fridge is enough for y’all to take action. Pretend this is that list.

1. Decide which issues are important to you.

2. Decide which issues are important to the Black women in your life.

3. Triple check that you’re registered.

4. Triple check your polling place.

5. Choose five Black men and check in with them — make sure they have done numbers 1–4.

6. Choose five more Black men and check in with them — make sure they have done numbers 1–4.

7. Repeat #5.

8. Find out if the issues that concern you are valid and can be voted on.

9. Make a point to know about your local issues as well!

I appreciate you taking the time to start thinking ahead toward this next election. I know full well that our sitting president will not be removed. And even if it did happen, the person next in line would be no better. It’s time to strategize. Yes, a year ahead. Can you help me out? Can you help us out? Thank you.

Love,

Me.

Aliya S. King is an author, freelance writer and editor.

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