Founder, Black Girls Vote
Nykidra Robinson didn’t learn much about politics growing up because it just wasn’t a topic of discussion around her. However, after graduating from college, she moved back home to Baltimore with a Bachelor’s degree in business management, marketing and related support services looking to start a career. With her job search underway, she learned through a friend about an opportunity to work in the mayor’s office doing community engagement, and the rest is history. Robinson landed the job as Neighborhood Liaison where she was able to learn more about civic engagement and the power of politics, which encouraged her to get more involved for the long haul.
From there, she continued community outreach and educating people about the power of communities using their voices. In 2015, her work reached new heights when she founded Black Girls Vote after what she describes as a series of transformative events in her community and personal life. She watched her city respond to the death of Freddie Gray with protests that largely took place in her neighborhood, and got involved in her community looking for a way to contribute solutions. Following that, she lost her job as a government appointee for the gubernatorial administration at that time, and then there was a murder that happened across the street from her home.
“These three events were tied to government and policy in one way or another. As we embarked on the 2016 Election, I reflected on the previous general elections of 2008 and 2012 where Black women galvanized to deliver the presidency for President Obama,” Robinson tells MadameNoire. “I knew the Black woman’s vote would be vital in 2016 and looked for a way to get more women, particularly young women, in the electoral and political process.”
Robinson founded Black Girls Vote out of pocket despite having lost her job shortly before launching, but the journey has been worth it. So far, Black Girls Vote has contributed to registering over 16,000 voters and has amassed a loyal following of people who participate in outreach and civics.
“In my work with Black Girls Vote, I’m most inspired by my ability to connect individuals, open doors and create access. I received a note the other day from a woman in Detroit who just turned 50, thanking me for the chance to live her dreams based on an opportunity created through BGV. That nourished my spirit,” says Robinson. “I believe that I’m just a vessel, God gave me a vision to launch Black Girls Vote but so many relationships are being formed and connected with so many great things occurring as a result. In addition, I’m continuously inspired by the next generation of young Black girls who are fearless and ready to work. These young women are formidable and are committed to creating real change for themselves and their families.”