Operation Black Vote

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"In early 1996, with the last date for a General Election 18 months away - Black volunteers at Charter88 and activists at The 1990 Trust began exploring ways of using the most important event in Britain's political calendar to raise the concerns of the Black community.

"We began by collating political and demographic data in marginal constituencies - and we soon realised that the Black vote was potentially immensely powerful. In over 50 seats the number of African, Asian and Caribbean voters was greater than its marginality. In another 50, our numbers were such that we had the potential to play a significant role in any closely fought contest.

"A call to action would have a solid base and an immediate focus - the power of the Black vote at the coming General Election. The challenge was to persuade the Black community to recognise that power and inspire them to participate - and to serve notice on the political parties that they ignored the Black electorate at their peril.

"Operation Black Vote was launched in July 1996. In just ten months we held over 100 meetings at schools, colleges, community centres, local party offices and town halls up and down the country." [1]

Rita Patel along with OBV Director Simon Woolley and former chair Lee Jasper set up Operation Black Vote.


Web: http://www.obv.org.uk

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch

  • The 1990 Trust is the first UK national Black organisation set up to protect and pioneer the interest of Britain’s Black Communities. Their approach is to engage in policy development and to articulate the needs of Black communities from a Black perspective. Key figures in the organisation include Lee Jasper, David Weaver and Karen Chouhan. It works closely with the National Assembly Against Racism and Operation Black Vote. wiki


  1. Operation Black Vote History, organizational web page, accessed November 13, 2014.