There is an old adage that if you are not at the table, you are on the menu. When it comes to politics in America, especially in relation to people of color, we tend to be the consistent entrée.

We are often used, misused or ignored by both major parties to secure a victory for the least compromised candidate out there. After years of watching parties play with the well-being of marginalized communities in Florida, the New Florida Majority, where I work, took a bold step. We decided to give communities of color more power to throw down for their communities by launching the New Florida Vision PAC. The goal of the PAC is very simple: put up candidates from and for the community and organize everyday Floridians to support the ones that put people before politics. 

Some people might say, "Aren't we supposed to be trying to get money out of politics?" Last I checked, it wasn't that communities of color had too much say in elections, it's that we have too little. We are definitely trying to fight against the corporate greed and money corrupting our politics. And we're doing it by building a vehicle that can compete with it by putting together people power and the little bit that makes a lot. We are appealing to those with 50 cents to $50 or more to contribute to create new and innovative ways to engage in politics. We are using these resources to pour back into the local community to employ community members at $15/hour. We are asking local artists and business owners to take ownership of their communities and demand a different kind of engagement from those seeking elected office.

Look no further than our support of Mayor Andrew Gillum (D-Tallahassee) who is a 2018 candidate for Florida Governor. He's the son of a bus driver and a construction worker. He was the youngest ever elected to Tallahassee city council. And if he wins, he'd be Florida's first black governor. But more than that, Mayor Gillum had already established a reputation for jumping out on issues that were impacting communities of color: from pushing back against the NRA, to standing up against the Trump administration on issues related to immigration.

Nonetheless, New Florida Vision PAC demanded more. We had seen communities be fed the same promises time and time again only to see them broken. We have an expectation that someone receiving this endorsement will not just make the promise, but work towards the goal of ending Jim Crow racism, ending mass incarceration and making all communities not only welcoming, but accommodating to the residents that live there. New Florida Vision PAC and the New Florida Majority are making the commitment to be there to both advocate and agitate. 

In Florida, black and Latino voters make up the majority of the Democratic party, but those running count on us not voting. This year is different. New Florida Vision is knocking doors, texting, driving busses through the neighborhoods, putting up murals, to reach 100,000 of us to make sure our voices are heard and our votes are cast at the ballot box. We have the numbers. The election is ours if we want it. That's why this year is different and like we see across the country, people are getting out to vote in record numbers.

If 2018 has shown us anything, it's that this is the year where it matters. It's the year of the unlikely candidate and the year of making history.

When the choice is between the lesser of two evils, a lot of us choose none of the above. But this year, in Florida, in Georgia and all over, that's not the only choice because we're running our people. Representation matters. To date, New Florida Vision has endorsed six candidates: five are people of color, and half are women. Politics matter, too. All of them have committed to an agenda that puts people first.

This is the year, like Andrew Gillum says, for those who have been told they don't belong, let's get our seat at the table.

Readers can text "Andrew" to 90975 to find out where to vote or to get involved.