On July 21, Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic Party, had a packed day ahead of her reaching out to Black communities in Miami. From bustling campaign offices and warm soul food to sacred church halls, the head of the Sunshine State’s Democrats is pounding the pavement and on a mission: drive up enthusiasm and register people of color to vote.
She started that Sunday morning bright and early at Wilbur Bell’s Flava’s Restaurant in West Perrine, talking to a group of voters there, taking questions, and discussing the investments the Florida Democratic Party plans to make in their community in 2020.
Rizzo’s work is part of the Florida Democratic Party’s effort to register voters across the state. The party has invested over $2 million dollars in the initiative and even recruited over 90 paid organizers to assist in the effort as part of the party’s Organizing Corps 2020. The organizers are focused on assisting communities of color register to vote and the majority of organizers are people of color from the communities they are working with.
From Flava’s, she’s off to greet the Miami Organizing Corps office, which is also located in West Perrine, who will be joining her at Second Baptist Church in Richmond Heights, where the Pastor is Rev. Alphonso Jackson. At the service she praised the parishioners for the work they do and talked about the investments the party will make to ensure success in 2020 - Organizing Corps being evidence of those early investments.
For Rizzo, she said it is about making sure the rights of Black voters are protected and making sure communities of color are heard and part of the electoral process. When asked about why the party is making this push Rizzo told this reporter that “we know how close elections are in Florida––they are razor-thin here. To ensure we are on the path to victory we all need to work to get our people registered, to the polls, and make sure their votes are counted.”
Rizzo explained that along with voter registration and outreach, another component of the Florida Democrats’ strategy is to have a year-round voter protection program: “We can’t assist communities with registering to vote and just leave them to fend for themselves. Voter suppression happens 365 days a year and we are going to work to protect voters all year long.”
After both church stops she’s still full of energy––something she and her party will need in their effort to register 200,000 voters–– "this is a team effort, and together we can take back the White House in 2020."