WRTV 3.0 demonstrated that mountains can be moved when communities pull together.

This year’s virtual relay course was The Alabama Black Belt: 220 miles from Cuba, Alabama to Phenix City, Alabama. Run 4 All Women’s team led with an in-person relay, followed by 1,407 virtual participants over the course of 4-days online. 41,002 miles were logged and 13,397 activities were reported, ranging from walking and running, to swimming, cycling, yoga, and cooking! All movement counts - and mattered.

With so much at stake with the end of Roe, the rallying cry to speak up and out for the protection and respect towards the humanity and dignity of women - especially Black women in particular, who may be at higher risk - the event moved to raise support for Black Voters Matter.

At a time when voter registration is waning, fundraising fatigue is at an all time high, and there is an overwhelming sense of discouragement, the relay event raised $30,000 to donate directly to Black Voters Matter. YES! Another impressive call out was the impact that relationships and connections had on direct donations when the race began. Through creative social media and personal invitations, direct donations doubled during the 5-day period to over $20,000!

THANK YOU to Run 4 All Women, for the idea, inspiration, and leading the relay in-real-life. We loved cheering you on as you passed the baton to the virtual relay start. THANK YOU to all of you who registered, ran, and cared with your time and treasure to support an important organization at a critical time in our nation.

As this year’s relay comes to a close, let us remember what we learned and may we continue to carve out a bit of our lives, use our voices, and open our wallets to do what we can to make this nation a more just place for everyone.

We will start and end with this rallying cry from LaTosha Brown, because the fight is far from over. See you at the voting booths, and next year!

We must transform our anger into POWER and organizing energy. Our rights and our bodies are non-negotiable! We must be relentless, we must be organized, we must be focused and visionaries. Let’s TURN this nation around. It’s OUR time! It’s OUR fight! We WILL WIN!”

- LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter (source)

For your reference - whether you participated or want to share this rich information with someone, following is the background for this epic relay for 2022.

With the end of Roe, and greater control in the hands of states, southern states in particular are likely to see an increase in abortion bans that will put the health of millions, and Black women in particular, at even higher risk.”

Our lives are at stake. Black lives are at stake and we are not going to let a Court that still doesn’t have a Black woman representative decide what rights we do and do not have. We know the fullness of our humanity must be protected and respected – at all times. While this decision is shameful, demeaning and dangerously violent, if we are forced to organize to expand or change the Court to protect the lives of childbearing people, then that is what we will do.

- Cliff Albright and LaTosha Brown, co-founders of Black Voters Matter (source)

What is the Alabama Black Belt?

The term “Black Belt” broadly refers to an area of the Southern United States - extending from Texas to Virginia - named for its fertile, rich black soil, making the region ideal for agriculture. Following the forced removal of Indigenous peoples, the Black Belt emerged as the core of the plantation era. The Alabama Black Belt stretches over 18 counties, including: Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Crenshaw, Dallas, Green Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, and Wilcox. Fifty percent of Alabama’s enslaved population was concentrated in this region. The effects of oppression are still felt today, with all 18 counties experiencing some of the highest rates of poverty in the state. In addition, the region experiences some of the worst voter-suppression laws in the United States.

Despite this troubling and heart wrenching history, the Alabama Black Belt is home to an incredible legacy of powerhouse leaders, grassroots organizations and critical moments in civil rights history, including:

This legacy continues, for there is still much work to do with outcomes that make a difference. In the 2017 special election, the “Alabama Black Belt did something that 68% of white Alabamans refused to do: reject the election of a white supremacist sexual abuser to The U.S. Senate”. Through their focused efforts, 96% of Black voters, largely concentrated in the Black belt turned out to vote. One of the most critical aspects to this victory, besides the brilliant mobilization strategies of the NAACP and other grassroots organizers, is the fact that the Black Belt changed the political calculus of a state that demonstrates little investment in its residents – regardless of political party.

People often think of Alabama and other Southern states as being politically “set” and therefore unchangeable. However, the South represents several states and regions full of residents who are active in making political progress for this country. As these individuals and communities mobilize their collective voices, they can change the course of civil rights history as we have historically known it or for some, come to accept the current state as settled. Women Run the Vote 3.0 is an opportunity to disrupt perceived narratives of what the South is through the sharing of stories and information, all while encouraging women and folks from across the country to use their power for change. As participants are informed and inspired, WRTV 3.0 will raise critical funds for Black Voters Matter. Through our collective love of running and movement, community engagement and friendships, this relay event gathers us together to get more people not only registered to vote, but also civically engaged. Both actions are essential for every individual in order to preserve essential freedoms that are currently under attack - like our reproductive rights.

Goals of Women Run the Vote 3.0

  • Raise critical funds for Black Voters Matter
  • Amplify and elevate the work being done by community organizers in the black belt
  • Challenge people’s perceptions about the possibility of Alabama (and places like it)
  • Demonstrate the power of organizing for change
  • Share the rich history of the Alabama Black Belt - share the lesser known stories of folks in the Black Belt (both historically and present day)

Beneficiary: Black Voters Matter

The goal of BVM is to increase power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities. Effective voting allows a community to determine its own destiny. We agree with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said, “Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love." We seek to achieve our goals with the following 5 core beliefs:

  • The key to effective civic engagement and community power is understanding, respecting and supporting local infrastructure.
  • Black Voters Matter not only on election day, but on the 364 days between election days as well. This means we must support individuals and organizations that are striving to obtain social justice throughout the year.
  • Black Voters Matter *everywhere*, including rural counties and smaller cities/towns that are often ignored by candidates, elected officials, political parties and the media.
  • In order for Black voters to matter, we must utilize authentic messaging which speaks to our issues, connects with our hopes and affirms our humanity.
  • The leadership, talent and commitment demonstrated by Black women in particular must receive recognition and, more importantly, *investment* in order to flourish and multiply.

Learn More: