Black Organizers Want Biden To Take Definitive Action On Voting Rights

It’s an all-hands moment for Democracy, with the fight to protect and expand voting rights front and center. The stakes are high, and Black leaders from the grassroots and legacy civil rights organizations are not letting up President Biden and the Senate.

Harvard Professor and former NAACP National President Cornell Brooks previously spoke with NewsOne about the primacy of the right to vote. He explained that all other rights depended on the right to vote, thus increasing its importance.   

Calling contemporary voter suppression efforts Machiavellian, Brooks drew a direct parallel with elected officials advocating voter suppression laws and the questionable ethics of the 16th-century Italian philosopher.  

“It’s amoral in the rhetoric and immoral in terms of the means and the ends,” Brooks explained. “And it is both a physical and civic existential threat to our democracy.”   

Despite the challenge of the moment, Brooks saw hope in the broad coalition that showed up last November. He stressed the importance of organizing to bring people together and expand understanding of the stakes for democracy.   

“We can literally create an electorate in a Democracy that is responsive to our needs, our aspirations, and our interest,” he declared. “But it takes big, bold, morally ambitious, broad-based leadership to do that.”  

Brooks is right on the money when he says the current pandemic of voter suppression requires a steady hand and bold leadership. But outside of the efforts of voting rights advocates, decisive leadership in this moment is lacking 

Recent news reports of White House officials saying grassroots organizers need to “out-organize” voter suppression reflects the crisis in leadership in this moment.  

“When leaders like Joe Biden fail to step up, Black men and Black women continue to lead from the front and show what it looks like when there is no gap between rhetoric and action,” said Nse Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project, in an emailed statement.

Beginning with the Black Women and Allies Call to Action Week, Black organizers have ramped up their demands for the Senate and the president to take decisive action on voting rights legislation. Spearheaded by The Black Women’s Roundtable, the group led actions at the Capitol two weeks in a row.  

Following the lead of their sister organizers, over 50 Black men representing civil rights, faith, and Black Greek letter organizations demanding action on voting rights gathered Thursday for a “Brothers Day of Action” on Capitol Hill.  Brooks along with Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson and eight other Black men leaders from across the country were arrested while sounding the alarm on voting rights.