“Desert Ques” Utilize the Power of the Purple & Gold to Help Turn Arizona Blue
Phoenix, November, 2020. From March to November, the brothers of Phi Iota chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity conducted a series of pre-election Candidate/ Ballot Initiatives that focused specifically on galvanizing and encouraging a positive voter turn-out in all (15) AZ Counties in particular and across the nation in general.
With the 2020 elections having such an acute impact on people of color, Phi Iota’s Basileus Bro. Larry Lopes, placed the full complement of the chapters’ resources at the disposal of the political action chairman, Bro. Benjamin Johnson. Bro. Johnson blended the chapters’ technical expertise and manpower resources with local agencies such as; the State and County Democratic party, the NAACP, the Divine 9 Pan-Hellenic organizations, 100 Black Women and those representing Latinex, Native and Asian concerns. Together, these alliances were able to wage a relentless eight month educational campaign to inform, educate, and encourage new voters about Arizona’s Ballot Initiatives, the voting process encouraging voters to cast their ballot by mail and participate in early voting. The comprehensive campaign consisted of informative emails, social distanced activities, rallies that conformed with CDC guidelines, webinars and ZOOM town halls that countered the restrictions caused by the pandemic.
The Crown Jewels of the campaign were the weekly webinars and ZOOM calls initiated and moderated by Bro. Benjamin Johnson, coordinated by Bro. Danny L. White, and produced by Phi Iota’s Vice Basileus Bro. Jeffrey Birthwright. The virtual town halls featured a veritable “Who’s Who” with one webinar recording approximately 600 participants and reports of thousands receiving the weekly messages via facebook and other social media outlets. Remarks were received from Vice Presidential candidate Soror Kamala Harris, and featured speakers included our Brother House Majority Whip Hon. Bro. James Clyburn, Arizona Secretary of State Hon. Katie Hobbs, Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, representatives of senatorial candidate Mark Kelly, Omega Psi Phi’s Grand Basileus David Marion,12th District Representative Bro. Kwame Dow, Omega’s International Political Action Chair and former DR, Bro. Sedrick Spencer, 32nd First Vice Grand Basileus Bro. Carl A. Blunt and a host of other current and former, politicians, district officials, national political strategists and dozens of aspiring and incumbent candidates of color, many of whom were Divine 9 members.
The culmination of this effort resulted in Arizona turning Blue for the first time in 28 years as the Biden & Harris ticket won the state by an impressive margin. The Brothers effort also resulted in Democrats winning state legislative and School Board seats across the Grand Canyon state. The “Desert Ques” of Phi Iotas’ relentless, dedicated and diligent work paid off here in the Grand Canyon Copper state and “Land of the Burning Sands”.
Danny L. White currently lives in Phoenix, AZ. He is the author and creative lead for the Sensational letter “S”, a children’s book focused on early reading comprehension and word development. He is also a Adjunct faculty member at Maricopa College, and staff reporter for the Arizona Informant.