WASHINGTON - The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) devoted its national town hall meeting to examining Voting Rights and New Age Discrimination from 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 20 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The town hall meeting is the centerpiece of the Foundation's 42nd Annual Legislative Conference scheduled from September 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 will bring together experts, the community and academia to discuss how the new laws passed by several states have made it more difficult to vote.
The panel included: 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; Crystal Wright - conservative columnist; political commentator and Ron Christie - founder/president of Christie Strategies, a 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. Panelists will discuss the implications of the new measures and offer strategies for ensuring that all have a fair and just opportunity to cast their vote in November," said Menna Demessie, Ph.D., senior research and policy analyst for CBCF.
In addition, the Foundation will distribute a voter guide toolkit on flash drives. These drives will 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. The toolkit will also be available on CBCF's web site - www.cbcfinc.org after September 20.
"We want people to be prepared before the election. It is too important an issue to be left to chance," said Dr. Demissie. "This toolkit is a step-by-step instruction guide to ensure voters are properly registered and ready to vote."
ALC provides an outlet to highlight the mission of CBCF - to develop leaders, to inform policy and to educate the public. Proceeds from ALC are used to fund educational opportunities and program outreach.
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.