The Transformative Justice Coalition (TJC) and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) joined the Rainbow Push Coalition and others at a star-studded celebration of the 57th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The all-star program presented what organizers called a tremendous opportunity to educate the public regarding the significance of the Voting Rights Act and the dangerous threats from the Supreme Court.
Held at the Thurgood Marshall Center Trust in Washington D.C.’s historic Shaw District, the event also highlighted the ‘anti-democracy forces’ that continue to threaten voting rights around the country.
Participants included Rev. Jesse Jackson; TJC President Dr. Barbara Arnwine and Board Chair Daryl Jones; National Urban League President Marc Morial; NNPA President/CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.; Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.); Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.); Dr. William Barber II; and Black Voters Matter Fund co-founder Latosha Brown.
“We’ve got to make sure our Generation Z and Millennials don’t, as Malcolm X said, fall for the okey-doke,” Dr. Chavis told the large gathering outside the Thurgood Marshall Trust Building. “That they don’t fall for misinformation. Our history shows that if we continue fighting for freedom, we will win freedom.
“If we continue to fight for voting rights, we will win voting rights.”
Morial called out the evils of misinformation and voter suppression.
“There’s an effort to suppress and dilute our votes, but we cannot be thwarted, frustrated, or deterred,” Morial said.
“Only determination and perseverance will help us endure, because a lot is on the line. The violent insurrection threatened to bring this nation to its knees on January 6. Unfortunately, there are some in this country who don’t believe in representative democracy—so don’t believe in the universality of the right to vote.”
Intending to register 10 million more Black voters before the midterm elections, Arnwine, Dr. Chavis, and others urged the crowd in D.C. and those watching via a livestream to join the crusade.
“We struggle, and we sacrifice not for ourselves,” Dr. Chavis said. “We struggle and sacrifice and go to the frontlines, and the best feeling in the world is to go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning knowing that you’ve done something for your freedom, for your right to vote. Our sleeves are rolled up. We will have ‘votercades’ and do everything we can to ensure that 10 million more Black people are registered to vote.”