The Center of Race and Ethnicity and Campus Life at EMU welcomed LaTosha Brown, alumni of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, as the speaker for Black History Month keynote address “Who Will Save American Democracy? The Role of Women, Young Voters, and People of Color in American Politics” on Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Brown is the co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund, founding project director of Grantmakers for Southern Progress, and founding member of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors’ Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health.
Brown explained how the Black Voters Matter Fund focuses on moving past political party divisions and brings power back to the people. Last year, they invested in over 600 Black-led grassroots organizations in over 11 states and developed their own political party, the Freedom Party, rooted in the notion that Black voters matter.
Daisha Dominic, a student coordinator of the VISION Volunteer Center, helped put together the event.
“Something we were looking for [in a speaker for this event] was to connect with students. It was really great the way that she [Brown] tied together the uncertainty of covid and how we should still be holding on even if we don’t know what’s going on. She tied it together for all the generations. She talked about how Gex X people were taught to keep their head down and now we have Gen Z, who is looking to make a change. I thought it was very nice that she brought it together and let everyone who’s watching [the event] know that they do have a part in the movement and that it’s okay that it looks different," Dominic said.
Brown structured her speech around the "three V’s: vision, voice, and victory."
For her first point, “vision," Brown asked the audience to close their eyes and imagine what America would look like without racism. After they opened their eyes, Brown explained that about half of people are unable to see anything.
“Nothing in this world would have been brought into creation if someone hadn’t envisioned it in their mind. If we want to see something different, it is going to require us to have a different level of thoughts,” Brown said.
Brown encouraged the audience to create a vision of a better, more equitable future for everyone.
Next, she asked the audience to develop their “authentic voice.”
Brown emphasized listening to people with different beliefs in order to create a nation where everyone has equal access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Brown asked the audience; “Are you utilizing your voice to push the conversation forward?”
The final V in Brown’s speech was “victory.” Brown discussed the importance of coming together, regardless of a political party, to make sure that we have a people-first economy.
“Victory is not I win, you lose. What is the best way for all of us to win?” Brown said.
Click here to visit the Black Voters Matter Fund website.