Campaign for Power

Increasing Voter Turnout in Underrepresented Communities

Welcome to the Initiative dedicated to the Voter Empowerment activities of famed voting rights advocate and martyr Octavius Valentine Catto. Mr. Catto was assassinated on Election Day 1871 while encouraging Black men to go to the polls and vote.  He was one of the first, documented martyrs to the Mission of voting rights, but definitely not the last.

Black Americans have long been the targets of voter intimidation and voter suppression since the passage of the 15th Amendment.  It is not a new phenomenon for us to feel threatened by those who seek to minimize our involvement in the electoral process. We intend to continue to maximize existing efforts and increase the influence in politics by the people of the African Diaspora. Through the O.V. Catto Voter Empowerment Initiative, we provide current and accurate, non-partisan information and assistance to voters, who live, work and raise their families in the traditionally overlooked and underrepresented neighborhoods, in working class communities around Pennsylvania.  We assist with training and implementation of voter registration, voter education and on Election Day. We are prepared to assist in voter turnout and voter protection response activities. We provide the Logistical Support and Tactical Assistance for a coordinated statewide Voter Protection Campaign.  More volunteers are needed and welcome. Come join us!

Campaign Overview

The 2020 O.V. Catto Voter Empowerment Initiative is an effort to increase voter registration and Election Day turnout among people of color in Pennsylvania. The Initiative has targeted eighteen jurisdictions within sixteen counties in the Commonwealth where communities of color are underrepresented in that county’s electorate. The participants in the Initiative include the Faith Community, Civic Organizations, Labor Organizations, Sororities and Fraternities, Community Based Organizations, Voting Rights Advocacy Groups and others.

The campaign for greater civic participation and voter empowerment consists of a series of coordinated efforts to conduct non-partisan voter registration activities at locations in Municipalities, Townships and Boroughs that have demonstrated traditionally low voter participation rates. Church sponsored activities seem most favored activities because of the role played by the Faith Community in the everyday lives of the poor, underemployed and citizens of color.  Labor organizations and advocacy groups for workers’ rights also identify readily with voting and civic engagement and are engaged with their constituents on a daily basis. Post-secondary student populations are encouraged to join the O.V. Catto Voter Empowerment Initiative.

The Catto Initiative will coordinate communications and track the progress of voter registration, by county, in the sixteen targeted jurisdictions.  Use of Online Voter Registration, in Pennsylvania, is encouraged as the quickest and most direct method of voter registration. Traditional Mail-In Voter Registration Applications will also be utilized, based on availability through local County Commissioners Offices and County Voter Services offices. We also widely encourage the use of Mail-In Ballots during the current COVID -19 pandemic. The Catto Initiative will assist every participating organization in getting the materials and the technical assistance required, to build a non-partisan, voter registration and election protection campaign that reflects the goal of increased voter participation by people of color, especially those who travel to the polls in Pennsylvania communities. We provide the Logistical Expertise & Tactical Management for the coordinated campaign in the designated target areas. We do this all through dedicated committed volunteers like you.  For more detailed information or to join the O.V. Catto Initiative contact: jcertaine@gmail.com or 215-510-9928.

De Tocqueville prophesied that if ever America underwent Revolution, it would be brought about by the presence of the black race, and that it would result from the inequality of their condition.

Octavius Valentine Catto,
Address at Independence Hall to the Twenty-Fourth U.S. Colored Troupe, April 21, 1865