Originally reported by: https://www.firstcoastnews.com/


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Did you see a caravan of tour buses Friday in Jacksonville with the words “Black Voters Matter” on the sides?

Dozens of people are traveling across the country to inspire Black people to head to the polls. They are the Arc of Voter Justice Tour, put on in part by The Reverend Jesse Jackson’s organization.

“The Blackest bus in America is in your town!” one man said out the window of a bus.

On Friday they stopped at Edward Waters University, where the event started with performances from the band and ended with rallying cries about the importance of voting.

“Don’t let anybody tell you your vote doesn’t count!” Barbara Arnwine with the Transformative Justice Coalition said.

A 12-year-old boy named Tyler listened to every word.

“It’s very interesting and it inspires me,” he said.

Data from the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office shows precincts with the lowest voter turnout in the 2020 general election were in majority-Black neighborhoods.

“It’s time for us to stand up,” said EWU student Kyla Fos. “If you see as many people, not many Black people in an election. So it’s time for us to get where we got to be.”

Some leaders of the tour say events like this are working and point out Georgia reportedly broke first-day early voting records this week.

“Different social issues, police brutality, the abortion rights,” listed another EWU student, Paris Smith. “Everything that we just need to stand up and vote for the people and elect the people who will help us get our issues across.”

“We need to do what we have to do,” added Fos.

Energizing young people to go out and vote has been a focus of voting rights groups. Also on the bus tour was Marcus Arbery, Senior, the father of Ahmaud Arbery. Arbery was the 25-year-old Black man murdered in Brusnwick, Georgia, by three white men while he was jogging.

“You better get off your butt and vote because if you don’t go out and vote you’re not gonna bring no changes,” Arbery said.

“The death of his son was a voting rights issue,” said Daryl Jones with the Transformative Justice Coalition. “Because the prosecutor that was in office at that time, Jacqueline Johnson, was one of the people that suppressed and did not want the gentlemen to be arrested that killed Ahmaud.”

Former Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson was indicted by a Grand Jury for allegedly meddling in the investigation.

“You’ve got to vote the wrong people out of these offices and get the right people in the office that gonna do the right,” Arbery said.

The tour bus caravan travels south through Florida this weekend. Early voting starts in Duval County next week.