SACRAMENTO – ‘Steve Ly, with a side eye.” This is the recommendation a group of Black women has for Elk Grove’s mayor’s race.

The incumbent, Ly, and other candidates for public office are dissected with the sistah-speak, unique perspectives and in-depth review that make up a voter guide created by the group Sacramento Sister Circle and the Sacramento Chapter of Black Women Organized For Political Action (BWOPA).

The local chapter of Black Women Organized For Political Action (BWOPA) created a Voter Guide to educate voters on what’s on the ballot and what it all means for Black women and their families. (photo by Ray Johnson)

The Sister Circle Voter Guide is created for upcoming primary and general elections to educate voters on what’s on the ballot and what it all means for Black women and their families.

The guide offers recommendations for measures and propositions through the sieve of the groups’ “Black Women’s Agenda,” which includes defending human rights, prioritizing equity and intersectionality, reimagining and creating justice, equitable and affordable housing, and access to quality education. Members make suggestions for candidates after interviewing them about their positions on pertinent matters.

The voter guide for the November 3 election was launched last week with a Zoom call featuring discussion of local and statewide issues. Ballot topics include rent control, cash bail reform, independent contractors, regulations for dialysis centers, and a Strong Mayor measure.

“People don’t want us to vote. People don’t want us to be educated,” shared Sacramento Sister Circle founder Christie H. Ketchum on why they have the voter guide and subsequent dialogue.

During the virtual voter guide presentation, members including Sac BWOPA President Kula Koenig, Dr. Flojaune Cofer, Alana Matthews and Kendra Lewis outlined their positions on propositions set to impact the Black community. They provided breakdowns of the propositions and measures, offering up clarity, and their own opinions on the motivations of those backing some of the initiatives.

“You have to read these propositions really clearly because sometimes their interests happen to align with ours, but often they don’t,” Dr. Cofer said.
The keynote speaker for the discussion was Dr. Shirley N. Weber, whose attempt to repeal California’s ban on affirmative action, Prop. 16, is also on the ballot.

“It is imperative that everyone vote,” Dr. Weber stressed.

“This is our moment. It has taken us 24 years to get this on the ballot. Tell everyone you know, tell everyone who is breathing. Prop. 16 has to pass, it has to,” she said.

Dr. Weber recently saw Gov. Gavin Newsom sign her reparations bill, calling for a task force to explore paying Black descendants of slaves.
“It’s going to be hard to get what we need in reparations if we don’t have Prop. 16,” Dr. Weber said.

“If I can’t target the fact that African Americans have been mistreated, I’m going to have to go through a lot of litigation just to get what we need as we talk about reparations,” she continued.

Discussion participants agreed with Dr. Weber about the significance of the Nov. 3 general election, and the importance of voting.

“It’s our time,” Ms. Ketchum underscored. “We have to show up. We’re doing that, but we need a lot more people to join us.”

By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer