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Black Power Summer School Seeks To Activate Next Year's Voters

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You might not see any yard signs or bumper stickers, but it’s political season in Las Vegas.

With fewer than 10 months until the 2022 Nevada primary, Black Power Summer School is taking August to educate and activate voters — and inspire more of them to go to the polls next year.

The nonprofit group MPower360 is hosting the series of free seminars, which cover topics such as dismantling racism, how to join boards and commissions, and navigating the world of nonprofits.

“We've got to work together to identify ways to change the system, and that really is at the core of Black Power Summer School,” said Yindra Dixon, executive director of MPower 360.

She said the school is not “an anti-white space,” but one that looks frankly at the past in order to make progress today.

“It’s very important that people continue to remember what has historically happened to Black people in America so that we don't repeat those same behaviors,” she said.

Dixon said themes from this year’s summer school are being addressed through the prism of recovering from the pandemic.

“I thought it was really important that we provided free training to the entire community in Nevada, to work on an issue that is critical for our recovery from COVID and the recovery of our economy — and that is to dismantle systemic racism,” she told State of Nevada.

Dixon said she hopes the school offers a step forward in a 500-year search for dignity that began with the start of the slave trade.

“We should first acknowledge is that liberation is a journey,” she said. “As a country, we profited from slavery. We built institutions off of the backs of slaves, we continue to oppress people through the systemic and political laws and policies that we put into place.

“And so in order for us to solve the problems that we have in our community today, food insecurity, housing, insecurity, joblessness, we really have to make sure that we understand where all of this kind of started from.”

Dixon weaves the history of Las Vegas into the larger story of Blacks’ progress being block by officially sanction roadblocks.

“We can go back to the historic Westside where Black people were forced to live. There were almost like lines drawn around the neighborhood, where this is the Black neighborhood, and this is where Black people are going to live,” she said. “And those neighborhoods today in 2021 still are not at par or equity with other neighborhoods that have been developed since.”

Despite the challenges, Dixon says the energy of Black activism should be channeled into the political system to foster change. She said that starts with appreciating the roles of government and nonprofits.

“Another key piece is not understanding how the process works, and how it impacts your daily life,” she said, “so one of the key things we try to do at MPower is to connect those dots for people.”

Yindra Dixon, executive director, MPower 360  

 

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Zachary Green is the Coordinating Producer and a Reporter for KNPR's State of Nevada Program. He reports on Clark County, minority affairs, health, real estate, business, and gardening. You'll occasionally hear Zachary Green reporting and fill-in hosting on the State of Nevada program.