The Crawley Black History Foundation has called on more members of the Black and Ethnic Minorities (BEM) community to use their votes this General Election.
Reports from the Electoral Commission show BEM’s are among those least likely to vote.
Now, 50 years after Martin Luther King led marches through Alabama, appealing for African-American citizens to defy repression and exercise their right to vote, Marilyn Le Feuvre, of Bewbush, has called for his message not to be ignored.
She said: “Fifty years ago the blacks were trying to get the vote and now some of us are not using it. People say ‘oh, I’m working’ and ‘my vote won’t count’ and ‘what difference will it make’? We’re not pushing for any particular political party, we’re just saying use your vote.”
In an attempt to hammer home the importance of voting, the foundation has joined forces with the Crawley Campaign Against Racism on a project called Operation Black Vote.
With the General Election to be held on May 7, time is running out for the message to get across.
Another of Dr King’s beliefs which Marilyn, 56, was keen to share, was that of community engagement with people from all walks of life.
She said: “We sometimes get perceived that Crawley Black History is only for the Afro-Caribbean people.
“We want to engage with all people of any age group, any colour, any creed.”
As such, the foundation has something special planned for this year’s Black History Month celebrations.
At the beginning of each event, a different choir will sing the Oscar winning song ‘Glory’ from the film ‘Selma’, which told the tale of the Alabama marches and Dr King’s campaign to secure equal voting rights.
The team would like to hear from choirs from anywhere in Crawley who would like to take part.
There is plenty of time to practice – Black History Month will launch in the town centre on September 26, with other events throughout October at venues around the town. If you would like to take part, contact Marilyn on 07709 821741 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .