Baltimore: ChangeMakers will introduce you to some of the individuals who are engaging youth, seeking to improve their neighborhoods block by block, and demanding that their voices be heard in corridors of power. Each one is different but determined in their own unique way to change the paradigm in the city, pushing to help rebuild it one day, one person at a time.
Change Maker: Nykidra "Nyki" Robinson
Hashtag: #blackgirlsvote #shewillvote
At the Forum Caterers in Baltimore, a ballroom is filled with African-American women of all ages: cute `lil grade schoolers, millennials and graceful elders. As a female deejay spins soulful girl power anthems, the ladies smile, laugh and chant loudly.
No, it's not a Beyonce concert. This combination political rally meets Happy Hour is being thrown by Black Girls Vote. The non-partisan organization was launched last year in Baltimore to inspire black women, especially 18 to 25-year-olds, to empower themselves and improve their communities via the democratic process.
"I thought, `What if black girls came together and voted collectively about the issues that impact us and our families the most?'" says founder and CEO, Nykidra "Nyki" Robinson, 33. "Our loyalty isn't to any party or candidate, but to those who support our interests—things like education, health care, and economic development."
A report from the Center for American Progress noted that in 2012 that African American women voted at a higher rate than any other group — across gender, race, and ethnicity.
Robinson and her volunteer team are building on that knowledge. They have mounted an enthusiastic grassroots effort to recruit, train and educate black women about the political process.
Black Girls Vote has held multiple events—from voter registration drives to partnering with Lyft to give voters rides to the polls during Maryland's recent primary election. Future goals include expanding their agenda and reach, possibly nationwide.
"We're using politics to let women know they can raise their voices to create a better world," says Robinson. "If you want power, you must change policy."
Our Baltimore: Change Makers series will introduce you to some of the stand-out individuals who are part of a burgeoning movement. Each is determined to help the city rebuild, block by block, person by person, one day at a time. As you read their profiles we hope that you will be inspired to join the conversation and let us know, who are your neighborhood #ChangeMakers? #BaltimoreChangeMakers