National Town Hall Meeting on Sept. 20 Focused on Serious Challenges Facing Voters
WASHINGTON – The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) devoted its National Town Hall meeting held last week at the Washington Convention Center to examining Voting Rights and New Age Discrimination. The town hall meeting served as the centerpiece of the Foundation's 42nd Annual Legislative Conference that was held in the nation's capital Sept. 19-22.
More than 20 states have changed their requirements for voting, which can affect a disproportionate number of African Americans, the disabled, and low income communities. The Foundation brought together experts, the community, and academia to discuss how the new laws passed by several states have made it more difficult to vote. Among the panel members who discussed the implications of the new measures and offered strategies for ensuring proper access to voting in November, were Reps. John Lewis (Ga); Mel Watt (NC); and Marcia Fudge (Ohio) - CBC leads for anti-voter repression campaign
Donna Brazile - DNC vice chair of Voter Registration and Participation; Democratic political strategist CNN; Dr. Marc Lamont Hill - CNN commentator, host of Our World Black Enterprise; Columbia Professor of Education; Rev. Al Sharpton -president of National Action Network (NAN), and host of MSNBC's PoliticsNation; Crystal Wright - conservative columnist; political commentator; and Ron Christie - founder/president of Christie Strategies; Republican political strategist.
"Millions of voters will be facing serious challenges as the result of the restrictive voting laws put in place across the country," said Menna Demessie, Ph.D.,, senior research and policy analyst for CBCF.
In addition, the Foundation distributed a voter guide toolkit on flash drives. These drives include information on voter registration and identification laws in each state, the latest developments regarding voter identification legislation, and opportunities for civic engagement to repeal the voter identification laws.
"We want people to be prepared before the election. It is too important an issue to be left to chance," said Dr. Demessie. "This toolkit is a step-by-step instruction guide to ensure voters are properly registered and ready to vote."
The conference is recognized as one of the most important gatherings of African-American leaders in the nation. In addition, attendees recognize the importance of what CBCF accomplishes in the community and have supported the Foundation's efforts to provide scholarships, internships, and fellowships to improve economic parity and to decrease health disparities.