LaTosha Brown is ready to take on Georgia’s new restrictive voting policies. With a goal of empowering Black citizens in the South, Ms. Brown, a fellow at the Harvard University Institute of Politics, is building a coalition with Stacey Abrams and Cliff Albright. Their coalition has brought voting rights to the spotlight, co-founding the organization Black Voters Matter.
In fact, Ms. Brown went beyond Black Voters Matter, creating the BVM Capacity Building Institute, a movement to expand voting access and build political power for Black people in the U.S., particularly in the South. Her other projects include the Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium, a mix of non-profit organizations seeking to support Black women in the Deep South.
Threaded through all her activism is Ms. Brown’s passion for protecting voting rights. As a Black woman in the United States in 2021, Ms. Brown believes grassroots organizing for these fundamental rights will lead to progressive change in the United States. Most importantly, she believes it will lead to change in the South particularly.
Vision, voice, and victory: a message for change
The keynote speaker at a recent Women’s History Month event at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Ms. Brown centered her voter-rights focus around three points: vision, voice, and victory. For vision, she asks her supporters to imagine a world without racism; voice includes not just listening but also using one’s authentic voice to create positive change. Finally, “Victory is not I win, you lose. What is the best way for all of us to win?” Brown asks her audience.
It is a question that spurs Ms. Brown to create organizations and opportunities to empower Black voters across the country. Georgia, a political hotspot for voting rights and restrictions, is currently moving toward voter identification to verify absentee ballots, a policy that disenfranchises Black voters. While 8% of white voters lack identification, the number of Black voters who are unable to obtain state identification is more than three times that.
These setbacks and roadblocks against free and fair elections only drive Ms. Brown to work even harder, pushing back against bills that include euphemisms about “election integrity.” In a recent tweet about Georgia’s attempts at voter restriction, Ms. Brown, who makes public the major organizations who support such policies, promised, “We will continue to speak up against racism or hatred of any kind.”