By Taroue Brooks
Tell us about your company.
HIT Strategies is a messaging and strategy firm that uses innovative research methods to understand, communicate with, and mobilize some of the hardest to reach communities in society. Women, millennials (+ gen-z), and minorities are irreversibly shifting voting and consumer patterns in America. We apply our lived experiences at the intersections of society to explore and empower these communities so that our partners can realize the full potential of rapid diversification in America.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I believe millennials are the most transformative and disruptive force in American history, and if we ever realize that then we would have the country that we wish it would be. That’s why we started HIT Strat, the first millennial research shop in Washington. To harness the overwhelming power of millennials and other young people.
Where do millenials stand with politics?
As long as millennials remain the biggest voting bloc in America but participate in politics at the lowest level then the outcome of elections will continue to be a thing that happens to us instead of because of us. In the last few elections we saw those voting patterns shifting as more millennials surged at the polls, ran for more offices, and seize the levers of political power. I think we can expect see young people determine the outcome of the next election, and many elections to come.
How important is voting for African Americans?
Voting was our first access to the American franchise and has been a remarkably effective tool for advancing justice in Black communities. But it is also important that voting is the beginning of our political participation and not the end. We must stay involved in the decision making processes where laws are made, leaders are appointed, and resources are distributed. That is the only way our votes have power and our communities get what they need.
Why is politics so important to you?
Politics are how we distribute power and resources in America. So for me, electing people that represent the pain and power of the communities that I am from is the best way to have the biggest impact on the most people for the longest time. As long as I am helping to elect the right people then politics will remain my purpose and not just my work.
What is the perfect ticket for the Democrats to beat the Republicans for the Presidential election and why?
Democrats are the big tent party. The diversity of identities, ideologies, and priorities create the environment where 20+ candidates run for president representing distinct factions of the Party. The perfect ticket must attempt to reconcile some of those conflicting but complimentary forces…reconcile the progressive and the moderate, the young and the old, the suburban and the urban, and most important…reconcile the racial divisions that are charging our politics today.
What can be done about the high level of racism in America?
When I conduct focus groups around the country I always start with the same first question…”what is the biggest problem in America today?” Regardless of the location, demographics, or socio-economic composition of the groups the answer is almost always “racism” or “division”. It is threatening the safety and competitiveness of the nation and until we begin to address racism as the crisis that it is, we cannot truly resolve the systemic challenges it presents.
Thankfully there are some leaders on the Left that are challenging the racist rhetoric from the White House and offering a more united vision for America where diversity is our strength.
How can we motivate people to vote?
My research has shown that power is an incredibly motivating emotion. It is not enough for people to be angry or afraid or frustrated by politics if they do not also feel empowered to change it. So we must really give people something to vote for, and not just something to vote against. We must show what they gain from voting, and not just what they can lose if they don’t. We must approach this from a position of power and possibility rather then deficiency and loss…and then we can ignite a charge that sends shockwaves through the body politic.