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On Improving and Galvanizing the Millennial Vote: An Interview with Jordan Wilson

Our BlackHer Shero of the Week is Jordan Wilson, co-founder of Politicking, a mobile application dedicated to improving and galvanizing the millennial vote by providing information about micro and macro politics. Wilson is a Howard University alum and currently pursuing her law degree at Boston College. She’s also a public service scholar in residence at Harvard University.

Jordan, I saw you pitch your app at Black Women Talk Tech a few years back and you were great! Why did you start Politicking?

I grew up in and around politics. My mom, Karen Freeman Wilson, is a former mayor of Gary, Indiana, and my chief role model. Through her work, I saw the impact that politics has on our lives. I also realized that, as Black folks, we are often the only ones who can and are willing to stand up for ourselves and our issues. We need to understand the power of politics, get to the polls, and push our interests and agendas. 

It may sound strange but Trump also encouraged me and many of my peers to step up. 

Most recently, I’ve been inspired by Karen Carter Peterson and her campaign for Congress (LA-02). She and my mother are friends and I’ve watched how she has worked hard to be a progressive beacon in a repressive landscape. 

I loved your article for The Grio about Karen’s campaign, which I’ve been supporting and watching closely too.

Thank you! Karen is a star and a great example of how Black women are rising at the state and local levels. Tameika Isaac Devine is the first Black woman to serve on the City Council in Columbia, SC. Maya Wiley could become the first woman to serve as the Mayor of New York City. We’re excited to educate voters about great candidates via our app.

It’s very exciting! I’m in awe of how many of us are eager to lead. Politics is your passion but you’re also an entrepreneur. What has that been like?

Becoming an entrepreneur has taught me lessons that politicians also learn. For example, you can only succeed if you have experience with the community you aim to serve. I was raised in Black culture and I know my customers and that is why Politicking is having success. I’m always surprised by folks who want to build products or services for communities they don’t know. 

Wen-kuni Céant and I also created Politicking for ourselves, because we realized how much we did not know when it came time to vote. We built the app in part because we thought it would help us to understand the issues and candidates on the ballot, especially in local and state elections. 

That reminds me of Toni Morrison saying that she wrote the books that she wanted to read.

Exactly. 

What is success for Politicking?

Our goals are threefold. First, we hope to significantly increase turnout for local and statewide elections. Second, we hope to ensure that more voters walk into the polls knowing the issues and candidates on the ballot. Third, we hope to change the narrative about what an engaged voter looks like. For example, in some states, engaged voters can look like folks who were formerly incarcerated. 

What advice would you give to other Black women entrepreneurs?

Don’t give up. There are a lot of no’s on this journey but we can’t let that stop us from speaking up and reaching out. Also, no’s often turn into other opportunities. 

How can BlackHer subscribers help you?

  • Help us build our network and raise our profile by opening doors for us. We’ve been lucky to connect with Senator Dick Durbin, Bakari Sellers, Damon Dash, and others through introductions made by people in our networks.
  • Help us scale our technology and voter education research by making a donation on our Go Fund Me page

Who are your BlackHer Sheroes?

My mom – As mentioned above, she is super inspirational. She loves her community like she loves my dad and me. 

Kamala Harris – I deeply admire her courage. She strikes me as the type of person who will always go for what she wants.

Kimberly Robinson – She’s a family friend from Gary, Indiana. I admire the way that she balances her family life with her political life.

LaTosha Brown – I’ve had the privilege of studying with her at the Institute of Politics at Harvard. She is one of the most authentic people I know. 

And, of course, Karen Carter Peterson. Her life has been infused with an ethic of service.

Let me ask you the miracle question. You go to sleep tonight and wake up tomorrow and it’s March 2022 and a miracle has occurred for Black women. What happened?

We all have someone who is speaking up for our dreams who is not Black or Brown. Some of us already have advocates like this in our lives, but many of us still don’t.

Jocelyn

 

 

 

P.S. To learn more about Politicking, follow them on Instagram.

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