We are a non-partisan voter engagement campaign designed to increase civic participation and leadership development in the Black Community of Minnesota.

Anika Robbins, BVM Founder

Assuming your Role as an Unapologetic Tax-Paying Voter


“I’m not really political” something I used to say-even as recent as 1 year ago-although I’d been engaged in civic engagement for at least 10 years prior. My first election was in 2007 to help elect President Obama. When he won, I remember how proud and hopeful I was that my vote counted. It was an exciting time to be alive, to see the first African American become President of the United States. 


After that, I became involved in local campaigns. But I quickly realized the need for ongoing voter education. People were turned off by political tactics, namely: only hearing from candidates during campaign season to ask for money and votes. Beyond that, there was no further engagement, no rapport developed, and no invitation to participate in governance. 


People of Color have not been issued an invitation to participate in their government, nor do we need one. However, if you’re not familiar with the process or know where to start, it can be intimidating-and that’s by design. Black Votes Matter MN has made it our cause to inform fellow citizens of their right to participate. And while, we would love to see more of us voting or, running for office, there are other ways to plug in, support and let your voice be heard.

Minneapolis, MN - The National NAACP will host a news conference

Saturday December 7th  to unveil its “Twin Cities Economic Inclusion Plan (EIP). 



Hosted by Minnesota's state and local chapters of NAACP, the report’s findings and recommendations will be presented to the public by the National NAACP, Minnesota/Dakotas Area State Conference and the Saint Paul and Minneapolis NAACP Chapters, at a free meeting from 1:00pm to 2:30 pm Saturday, December 7th at The Minneapolis Urban League’s Glover Sudduth Center, 2100 Plymouth Avenue North in Minneapolis.

While Minnesota is often cited amongst the ’top places to live’, African Americans experience a different reality that includes glaring disparities in housing, education, health, criminal justice and access to economic opportunity. The report will highlight key findings and share specific recommendations to eliminate the disparities. Funded by the Northwest Area Foundation, the report builds on research launched in 2018 at an Economic Summit hosted by NAACP with key policymakers and stakeholders. 

Speaking at the afternoon meeting will be Marvin Owens, Jr., Senior Director, National NAACP Economic Programs and NAACP National Deputy Chief Development Officer; William C. Jordan, Jr., President, NAACP Minnesota/Dakotas Area State Conference, and President, Rochester Chapter NAACP; Farhio Khalif, President, Saint Paul Chapter NAACP; and Leslie Redmond, President, Minneapolis Chapter NAACP.  A light lunch prepared by the new Golden Thyme Restaurant and Café will be provided


Yusef Mgeni, Vice President, MN/Dakotas Area State Conference NAACP

mgeni@q.com  or 651 226 4357

What the Hell?

What the Hell Is …The Census?


Breaking Down The Census:  Why We Need To Make This One Count


Ms. Margaret, Guest Contributor


“What the hell is the census?” A common response heard around the nation as we begin to approach the 10 year mark to complete the census again. While we talk a lot about the importance of voting with the 2020 U.S. Presidential election right around the corner, the important conversation about the census is often left on the table.


Now, when I said it’s time to take the census again, I know some of you were thinking  “Agaaaaiiiinnnn?!” When did we take it the last time?” If you asked one of these questions OR are unfamiliar with the census, then this article is just for you! 


To sum up what the census is , it is when we make sure our government puts some respeck (yes respeck with a “k”) on our name! In March 2020, each address nationwide will receive an invitation to complete the 2020 Census. The census will count every person living in America as of April 1st, 2020.


The idea of the government taking a count of each individual living in the country sounds a little invasive, a tad iRobot-ish, but it’s actually not. It’s one of the most important actions we can do to ensure resources and funding are allocated to our communities. So let’s breakdown the census, its impact, and why you need to make sure you COUNT.


“What exactly is the census and how is the data used?”


Every 10 years a questionnaire (The Census) is sent to every address in the U.S. recording each individual living within that household by April 1st. The data collected by this questionnaire helps the government understand how the population has changed over time. Census data informs decisions about funding for things like public safety, education, housing, health care resources, jobs, and other public services. 

Nonprofit organizations, public entities and policy makers use this information to advocate for resources needed within the community. Businesses are guided by census data to inform business development, job creation opportunities and community development. In a world where more and more resources are being stripped away daily, particularly those that benefit marginalized communities, it is imperative we get a correct and complete count!


The census data is also used to determine how many seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. The larger the state, the more representatives are needed to represent that state. Population growth and/or decline determines the number of seats-and the funding to go along with it. Smaller states receive at least 1 representative, while states with larger populations receive more.

“So how do I take the Census?”

Fortunately, participating in the census is much less complicated than the language that surrounds it. Once you receive the questionnaire in the mail, all you have to do is fill it out and submit it via mail, online, or by phone. You can fill the form out online at www.census.gov




If you choose not to respond to the questionnaire, a census enumerator from your community will reach out to you to provide assistance completing and submitting your responses to the questionnaire. 


“Is My Information Safe?”

According to census.gov, by law the information collected by the U.S. Census Bureau cannot not be shared with, or used by, any other government agency, court, law enforcement agency, landlord, etc. Furthermore, the 2020 Census form does not require you to disclose whether or not you are a U.S. citizen. 


Census forms will begin to arrive mid-March 2020. This is the one chance per decade we have to get this right so let’s ensure we make this one count! The shape of our future depends on it.


For more information, to receive support, translation or resources, visit: www.becountedmn.com and on Facebook. 


To learn about the census, census jobs and more, visit: www.census.gov


"What The Hell?" is a witty, insightful column breaking down all the things in our current political climate that make us say "What The Hell??” Ms Margaret is a TV/Radio personality. She hosts "Ms Margaret Live!" on 90.3 FM KFAI Radio - the 15th largest public radio station in the nation.  A Fisk University alumna with a degree in Business Administration, she is a passionate civic engagement and education reform advocate.

For Office of Mayor, City Council, Park . Board and Board of Estimate & Taxation

Ranked Choice Voting: Easy as 1-2-3!




Rank the candidates in order of preference on the ballot - 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice. The more you rank, the more power your

ballot has.

Your second and third choices matter! But they will only be counted if your first choice is eliminated.

Do not mark the same candidate twice. Do not mark more than 1 candidate in any column.

What is your role in elections?

Choose a Cause The first step is to educate yourself on the issues. Clarify what issues matter to you and your family? The next step is to research the candidates and political parities to see where they land on your issues. This will inform how you activate from there. Volunteer Running a campaign is a lot of work-for at least 6-15 months, it can be a full time job. Volunteers are a valuable support system to a political candidate-especially those operating on a shoe-string budget. Volunteers help make calls to voters, canvass neighborhoods, help table at events, perform data entry, and then some. This is also a great way to see the candidate up close and personal. You’ll learn a lot about the issues, their values, and you’ll learn a lot about the process. Not to mention, it’s great on your resume! Donate Campaigns costs money to be effective. Lawn signs, food, printed mailers, paid campaign staff, all cost money. Small campaigns are especially dependent on campaign donations. Consider donating to your candidate. Trust us, they appreciate ANY amount you can give. VOTE At the very least, be sure to cast your vote on Election Day! Elections have been won-and lost-with as little as 5-10 votes. Don’t believe the rhetoric; every-single-vote-absolutely-matters! What should I do after the Election?

What should I do after the Election?

Lobby Follow the issues you identified that matter to you. Support issue-based advocacy groups i.e. NAACP, ACLU, Teachers of Color, Restore the Vote, etc. Show up at the State Capitol for rallies, sign petitions, call your legislators and let them know how you feel about an issue and their position on it. Many legislators say they don’t hear from their constituents, but if they did, they would be responsive. Some are not always receptive, but many are…if you show up. Attend Government Meetings Look up your city’s website to see the meeting calendar and decide what meeting you will attend. Or, if you get a notice in the mail about a public meeting, make it a point to attend. Most, if not all, government meetings are open to the public. There is usually a period for public comment, too. This is a great opportunity to see your tax dollars at work! Not to mention, you learn the process and see how they arrive at decisions. From there you can decide how you want to engage. Don’t forget, your neighborhood association, school board, PTA, etc, are also forms of government with opportunities for you to deepen your civic participation. Call Your Representatives Most public officials have newsletters, community meetings or ‘public office hours’, etc. Attend these smaller intimate conversations to learn more about your representative, and maybe even pick their brain about issues. Voting and civic engagement is not new to us. It is an integral part of our heritage. Back in the day, our parents and grandparents supported campaigns by voting, holding bake sales, and other fundraisers, for their chosen candidates. Today, babysitting, driving voters to polls, sharing candidate events on Facebook, rallying your friends and family to vote-all count as civic engagement. If you are 50 and younger, it’s time to start assuming that role. The truth is, whether you feel political or not, your very being and Blackness is political. Political decisions are being made everyday that affect you-with or without you. The more you become involved now-on a consistent basis-the less you have to protest later.




NOVEMBER 2, 2021