Efforts to activate Pennsylvania Black voters in full swing

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — There has been a major push in Philadelphia and beyond to activate Black voters in Pennsylvania ahead of Election Day. The "get out the vote" effort has gotten pretty creative during the pandemic.

From phone banks, to text campaigns, a party bus and caravans, plus Black voter happy hours, partisan and nonpartisan groups alike have honed in on the Black vote in Pennsylvania.

"So we decided to get together for this historical moment," said City Councilmember Cherelle Parker.

Parker held an event for 75 women voters in her backyard Wednesday night.

"As you can see everybody is wearing a mask," she assured. "They've had a (temperature) check."

The chairs were spaced 6 feet apart and no food was allowed. The women came together to watch U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris take on Vice President Mike Pence in the only vice presidential debate.

"It's get out the vote, so we're asking everybody before they leave, what's your plan to vote," said Parker, who noted that Black women feel compelled to work hard for the Biden-Harris campaign. "Rarely do we see a Black woman who is qualified who has done the work and who is ready to get the opportunity."

And the show definitely activitated the crowd, especially as Harris fended off interruptions from Pence on a number of occasions.

"Sen. Harris killed it," said Kathy Caldwell, a Philadelphia voter. "She spoke policy, she spoke facts."

"If Philadelphia turns up and turns out, we will win Pennsylvania," says Lisa Rhodes, chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Black Caucus. She said Black voter turnout is critical in Pennsylvania, and that Democrats are pumping millions into engaging this electorate with efforts set up in eight areas across the commonwealth.

"If 44,000 more of us had come out in 2016, we would have won," she says, "So I know we are going to be the deciding factor."

To register to vote, go to votespa.com.