Why are certain citizens denied the right to vote? And why do others choose not to vote? The forum will examine how voter suppression threatens our ability to freely elect our leaders and our constitutional right to vote. Hon. Stacey Abrams and U.S. Rep. Jeffries will share their unique perspectives on the promise of the Voting Rights Act and the subsequent national and state rulings that have given rise to voter suppression. A provocative panel discussion with Kristen Clarke and Maria Teresa Kumar moderated by Ray Suarez will explore the resulting impact on access to voting, particularly in communities of color, and the issue of voting safety in the age of COVID-19. Join us to learn how you can take action to engage voters and ensure free, fair, and safe elections. You’re in for a treat with the uplifting musical performances of Abena Koomson-Davis and the Resistance Revival Chorus, and Matthew Whitaker!
The historic Riverside Church is an interdenominational, interracial, and international congregation in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. A focal point of global and national activism since its inception, Riverside Church has a long history of social justice. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered sermons at Riverside between 1961 and 1967, most famously Beyond Vietnam on April 4, 1967, exactly one year before King’s assassination.
The Mission and Social Justice Commission seeks to transform individuals, communities, and systems of racial, economic, social, and environmental oppression. It encompasses 16 ministries, including The Lift Every Voice & Vote Ministry, The Prison Ministry, Sojourners Working with Individuals in Detention Centers, the Latino Ministry, and Black Lives Matters, among others. Riverside Church’s diverse congregation includes more than 40 ethnic groups.
The building was designated as a city landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2000, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.
JusticeAid leverages the community-building power of art and music to transform awareness into action in the fight against injustice. We organize arts events and public forums to educate people about key civil rights challenges, and we raise funds to support key organizations addressing these issues. Since its founding in 2013, JusticeAid has raised more than $1,000,000 in donations for the nonprofits it serves.
JusticeAid selects a justice-focused issue each year. In 2020, the focus is on voter engagement and voter suppression in support of our 2020 beneficiary, Election Protection/866-OUR-VOTE,the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition formed to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process.
Election Protection is a national coalition made up of more than 200 local, state, and national voting rights advocacy partners working year-round to provide information and assistance to voters. The coalition assists voters overcome obstacles to voter participation (registration, early and absentee voting, casting a vote at the polls) and during the post-election process when ballots are reviewed and run-offs are held.
Election Protection is a program of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Formed in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, the Lawyers’ Committee has been at the forefront of the legal struggle to fight discrimination, repair the damage of historic racial inequity, and break down the barriers to opportunity.
Honorary Host Committee
- Kristen Clarke, President & CEO, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
- Seth Waxman, Partner, Wilmer Hale, and 41st Solicitor General of the United States
- Sree Sreenivasan, Marshall Loeb Visiting Professor of Digital Innovation, Stony Brook University
- Union Theological Seminary
Host Committee Co-Chairs
- Marcia Blanco-Johnson, Election Protection
- Kim Coaxum & Therese Steiner, JusticeAid
- Sumati Devadutt & Rueben Martinez, The Riverside Church of New York
Host Committee Members
- The Riverside Church of New York: Jackie McLeod, Shelia Rule, & Ruby Sprott
- ClassACT HR73: Marion Dry, Sara Greenberg, Donna Brown Guillaume, Helen Hershkoff, & Ryan O’Connell
- New York State Council of Churches: Rev. Peter Cook
- JusticeAid: Natalie Jowett