Black Women, Let’s Get These Two Political Engagement Apps and Do the Damn Thing

By Cheyenne Varner I don’t think it really hit me until I saw this picture of a Black woman at the Women’s March, holding a sign that sai...


By Cheyenne Varner

I don’t think it really hit me until I saw this picture of a Black woman at the Women’s March, holding a sign that said, “Trust Black Women,” with a fist and a little red “94%” added on the side.

As in, 94% of Black women did NOT vote for Donald Trump.

Not only did the vast majority of Black women use their votes in an effort to NOT elect #45 in 2016, but historically, Black women have registered and turned out to vote in high numbers — surpassing Black men since 1998, and all other races and genders in 2008 and 2012. We’re are simply not the “Oh well, what can we do?” giving-up type.

So let me just get to my point. I loved the sign that said “Trust Black Women,” but it made me realize these men (and few women) in power are not going to start doing that of their own accord. We have to push like we pushed in November on all the levels of politics we can.

Now, this isn’t a simple task for THIS Black woman. I may have been politically engaged in November, but I feel politically like-a-fish-out-of-water when it comes to what Congress is proposing and voting on, who my state representative is, and how the heck I can cut through all the tape to get my reps to hear my voice. After all, the only time I ever studied political engagement in America was elementary school, which was all, “Best system ever, everyone’s totally equal, register to vote, be grateful you’re not in a third-world country and kiss the flag! End of class.”

But good news for me! We’re living in 2017. It's the age of technology, and technology just came through for the politically challenged!
Please allow me to introduce you to VoteSpotter and Countable.

VoteSpotter connects you to each of your Congressional and State representatives. It tells you what they’re voting on, how they vote, and gives you the opportunity to let them know if you agree or disagree with them. You can email them and get their phone number from the app, as well as any social media or websites they have.

Countable takes the above to the next level. You can see your representatives in this app, too – see what they’re voting on, and how they’re voting, and let them know your stance. But Countable goes into greater depth on each of the issues arising on the political landscape, and offers really helpful synopses on the impact of each potential piece of legislation and what it means to vote yay or nay. It even goes as deep as to tell you who sponsored the legislation and what their reasoning was. I sent at least three emails to three of my representatives late last night from the comfort of my bed. Now, that’s a democratic process my introverted self can really get onboard with.

So I’m fired up! I’m sitting here like, “Come on, 94, let’s do this!” And this time, let’s go ahead and be right out loud about it. We don’t have to worry anymore about offending anyone’s fine, privileged sensibilities. We don’t have to hide our hard work behind the curtains of or soften the impact of our convictions under the gaze of white men, white women, or Black men, for that matter!
We all just saw the movie about the three Black women who were essential in getting the U.S. in space and to the moon (and made sure there would continue to be Black women at NASA, amen?). We’re the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in this country.  And we’re about to have a freaking Black Lady Liberty $100 coin.

But you know what? Truth of the matter is we’re priceless. And I think this country is really about to realize that.

Now that I’ve got all that fire out, download those apps while I go find somewhere to humble myself and pray.

Cheyenne Varner is a 25-year-old doula, designer, photographer and writer in Richmond, VA. She seeks to pursue all of her work with excellence, authenticity and grace. Learn more about her at her website (www.cheyennevarner.com).

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