Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Meet the Man Working to Turn Out Black Voters in Macomb County

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Image credit: Jerome Vaughn

Although many people don’t think of Black voters and candidates when they think of Macomb County, they are playing an increasingly large role, according to Joel Rutherford, chair of the Macomb County Democratic Black Caucus.

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A lot has been made both about the role Macomb County will play in the November election and the role Black voters will play — especially here in Michigan. We don’t often consider the intersection of those two groups.

History is being made here, for sure.” - Joel Rutherford, chair, Democratic Black Caucus of Macomb County.

Joel Rutherford lives within the confines of that intersection. He is the chair of the Democratic Black Caucus of Macomb County. He joins Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today to talk about how African Americans in Macomb are feeling ahead of Tuesday’s election.


Listen: Macomb County Democratic Black Caucus Chair Joel Rutherford joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson


Rutherford says although many people don’t think of Black voters and candidates when they think of Macomb County, they are playing an increasingly large role.

We’re definitely here. We vote,” he says. ”We have a record number of black candidates this time running for positions throughout the county, so history is being made here, for sure.”

 ”If we don’t have a seat at the table, you’re usually on the menu.” - Joel Rutherford, chair, Democratic Black Caucus of Macomb County

But he acknowledges that racism is prevalent in Macomb, and that tensions have been building for a long time.

There are a lot of people here who have problems with the changes that are that are happening,” says Rutherford. ”The thing about it is Macomb county didn’t get this way, in a year or a decade. So it’s not going to change overnight. We try to make sure that voters know, especially Black voters and other voters of color, this is a marathon. This is not a sprint. This is not going to happen in a short amount of time. But if we keep working at it and people vote, do what they need to do, get involved in any way they want within their communities or the county, do that. Make your voices heard. That’s the only way we’re going to have change.”

I think (what) will really help that change move in a much quicker process is we get Black people elected because I say if we don’t have a seat at the table, you’re usually on the menu,” he says.

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This post is a part of 2020 Voter Information Center.

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