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Classact hr73 and justiceaid Present:


Saturday, March 16, 2024

Zoom Forum Resources

The truth of the matter is that American democracy is extremely fragile and needs to be strengthened. LaTosha Brown

Voter Suppression is the highest it’s been in 60 years. Only 49% of American youth feel inspired to vote. Frustration in the Black community. Economic insecurity. The new post COVID reality. Misinformation on social media. The future of our democracy.

These are among the issues raised in To The Ballot Box! Our Vote, Our Voice a ZOOM Public Forum co-presented by ClassACT and JusticeAid on Saturday, March 16th .

The Forum was moderated by Joy Reid’ 91, host of MSNBC’s The ReidOut, Senior Political Analyst for MSNBC, author of New York Times #1 Best Seller Medgar and Myrlie: Medgar Evers and the Love Story that Awakened Americaand former managing editor of Ms. Reid was joined by Black Voters Matter Co-Founder and Chief Doer LaTosha Brown and Black Voters Matter Co-Founder and Executive Director Cliff Albright. The night ended with a moving poem titled "Vote" from, spoken word artist, activist, educator, and public speaker Paine the Poet

Panelists LaTosha Brown and Cliff Albright outlined the strategies that have been used in voter suppression; from weaponizing the administrative process to create bills that seem legal- the “how many jelly beans in a jar” strategy -- to creating a culture of fear that keeps people away from the polls: From legal barriers to voting presented by recent state legislations to past federal legislation, such as the 2013 Shelby County vs Holder Supreme Court decision that weakened the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

One of the big challenges we have going into the elections, is people not voting—suppressing their own vote by opting out. There is a disgruntlement, particularly among younger voters and black voters based upon what they feel they’d achieved voting in the past. Joy Reid

How do we change this paradigm? According to the Brookings Institute, the census indicates that America will become majority non-white in 2045.* How do we engage younger voters who are active and marching, yet not necessarily connecting voting with power and the future of our democracy, and Black and minority voters who have felt excluded from our democracy and the political process.

We cannot out-organize voter suppression. Each person we touch, we have to tell how important the election is. Cliff Albright

Black Voters Matter, focuses on engagement at the local level, connecting with voters on location-specific issues that are important to that individual community, such as climate change or a local school board election, which in turn catalyzes people to vote and register to vote; creating leadership programs for youth; and galvanizing all Americans to have a voice in the future of our country.

It was not super- heroes from another planet that did the heroic work of the Civil Rights Movement, it was ordinary people. Joy Reid

What can we personally do for the future of our democracy? Joy Reid, in her Call to Action, recommended creating a “Democracy Survival Kit” with three key elements: 1) “Arrive with five”, reach out to five people in your life you can register to vote. 2) Support organizations that are doing the work , and 3) Find your voice and be active on social media.

What’s in your Democracy Survival Kit?

We have created 12 videos from this conversation, including one of the whole event, and some containing calls to action. They are all available by clicking on the playlist in the YouTube video screen below. The playlist is very hard to see! You will find it along the top of the screen just to the right of the title of the forum. It looks like this ≡.

Click on the ≡ button. That will open a drop down menu. You can then scroll down the menu and choose individual videos to play.




    National Correspondent, MSNBC

    Host, The ReidOut

    Joy-Ann Reid is a political analyst for MSNBC and host of “AM Joy,” which airs Saturdays and Sundays from 10 A.M. ET to noon ET. She is also the author of the book “Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons and the Racial Divide” (William Morrow/Harper Collins 2015), co-editor of “We Are The Change We Seek: The Speeches of Barack Obama” (Bloomsbury USA), and a columnist at The Daily Beast.

    Reid was previously the host of “The Reid Report,” a daily program that offered Reid’s distinctive analysis and insight on the day’s news. Before that, Reid was the Managing Editor of, a daily online news and opinion platform devoted to delivering stories and perspectives that reflect and affect African-American audiences. Reid joined with experience as a freelance columnist for the Miami Herald and as editor of the political blog The Reid Report. She is a former talk radio producer and host for Radio One, and previously served as an online news editor for the NBC affiliate WTVJ in Miramar, FL.

    During the 2004 presidential campaign, Reid served as the Florida deputy communications director for the 527 “America Coming Together” initiative, and was a press aide in the final stretch of President Barack Obama’s Florida campaign in 2008. Reid’s columns and articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Daily Beast, New York magazine, The Guardian, the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, South Florida Times and

    Reid graduated from Harvard University in 1991 with a concentration in film, and is a 2003 Knight Center for Specialized Journalism fellow. She currently resides in Brooklyn with her husband and family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @JoyAnnReid and “like” her on Facebook at Joy Reid Official.

    CALL TO ACTION (watch Joy give her call to action here)

    • Create a personal “Democracy Survival Kit” with three key elements:
      • “Arrive with five”, reach out to five people in your life you can register to vote.
      • Support organizations that are doing the work.
      • Find your voice and be active on social media.



    Co-Founder and Executive Director, 

    Black Voters Matter Fund

    Cliff Albright is a 2020 Soros Equality Fellow and co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund (and BVM Capacity Building Institute) which builds community and organizational capacity related to Black voting power.

    BVM received national attention in 2017 when they helped mobilize Black voters during the U.S. Senate race between Doug Jones and Roy Moore. Since then, Cliff and the BVM team have traveled throughout thirteen primarily southern states in “The Blackest Bus in America” energizing voters and exposing voter suppression.

    Cliff serves as an instructor of African-American Studies at several universities. Cliff previously lived in historic Selma, Alabama, where he focused on bringing financial resources to Alabama’s blackbelt region. Cliff attended Cornell University, where he obtained his B.S. in Applied Economics and an M.P.S. in Africana Studies. He also has an M.B.A. from the University of Alabama.

    Cliff has contributed articles to and been featured on MSNBC, CNN, New York Times, Blavity, The Guardian, and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.

    CALLS TO ACTION (watch Cliff give his calls to action here)

    • Text volunteer to 25225 to connect to Black Voters Matter and help in their Texting Tuesdays campaign
    • Follow Black Voters Matter at @blackvotersmtr on Instagram, X, and Tik Tok to see their work and the policies they support
    • If we're going to fix this democracy and make sure this election isn't the last one, everyone needs to be connected to an organization.
    • If not Black Voters Matter, find organization that has the goals and objectives you share. You can get involved as a group.
    • Everyone is an organizer, and everyone has a role to play. This election, be the organizer. We have all the power we need on this one zoom.



    Co-Founder and Chief Doer, 

    Black Voters Matter Fund

    LaTosha Brown is an award-winning organizer, philanthropic consultant, political strategist and jazz singer with over twenty years of experience working in the non-profit and philanthropy sectors on a wide variety of issues related to political empowerment, social justice, economic development, leadership development, wealth creation and civil rights.

    She is the co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund, a power building southern based civic engagement organization that played an instrumental role in the 2017 Alabama U.S. Senate race. Ms. Brown is principal owner of TruthSpeaks Consulting, Inc., a philanthropy advisory consulting firm in Atlanta, GA. For more than 25 years, she has served as a consultant and advisor for individual donors, government, public foundations and private donors.

    Throughout her career, Ms. Brown has distinguished herself as a trusted expert and resource in political strategy, rural development and special programming for a number of national and regional philanthropies. She is the founding project director of Grantmakers for Southern Progress.

    CALLS TO ACTION (watch LaTosha give her calls to action here)

    Short Term: This is not the year you can afford to stay on the sidelines

    • Join Black Voters Matter's We Fight Back initiative
    • Write a check for local groups doing frontline work
    • Get involved with an organization on the front lines
    • Amplify and multiply the work - let at least 10 people know how to vote this election
      • Although we cannot out organize voter suppression, but we can make a difference



    • Close your eyes, and imagine what America would look like without racism. It's important to imagine new ways of being, new systems, and a representative democracy. Radically reimagine the America we want to be a part of -- see yourself as a founder of a new America.



    Spoken Word Artist, Activist, Educator, and Public Speaker

    Paine The Poet is a spoken word artist, activist, educator, and public speaker from Columbus, OH. He uses his gift of poetry and lyricism to bridge the gap between the “disenfranchised” and the society from which they have been detached. His experience as a formerly incarcerated individual of eight years makes him powerful voice for “convicted felons” and those deemed a “menace to society.”

    As a teaching artist, Paine attempts to disrupt the school to prison pipeline by facilitating poetry courses in high schools across Washington, DC. Currently, Paine is partnered with the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services to prepare incarcerated youth for their return to society.

    He has headlined at the National Gallery of Art, 93.9 WKYS, the U.S Capitol, the NFL and various social justice event throughout the United States.


      • Watch Paine the Poet's spoken word call to action here.


    CALLS TO ACTION (watch Steve Milliken '73, Founder of JusticeAid, give his calls to action here)

    • Support JusticeAid; 100% of proceeds will go to Black Voters Matter. It's going to take money to fix this democracy.
    • JusticeAid's Spring benefit concert for Black Voters Matter will take place May 21st at City Winery in NYC Tickets on sale now! The concert will feature powerful, soulful music from the late 60s and 70s, including songs from Stevie Wonder, Isley Brothers, Staple Singers, Roberta Flack, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and others. Tickets include a welcome reception and a 3-course dinner. Consider a sponsorship.



    CALL TO ACTION (watch Therese Steiner, HR73 Board Member, give her call to action here)

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