p class=”p1″>As the 2020 general election quickly approaches, voting power is a topic of interest. Co-founder of Black Votes Matter, LaTosha Brown, will visit Ithaca this week to highlight community organizing and voting.
Brown will speak at two different events in Ithaca — she is the keynote speaker for a fundraising gala hosted by the Center for Transformative Action on Thursday for the Dorothy Cotton Institute, an organization that works to inspire and support people to protect human rights, named for civil rights leader Dorothy Cotton.
Earlier in the day, Brown will deliver a 1:25 p.m. talk supported by the anthropology course Global Engagements: Living and Working in a Diverse World taught by Prof. Sofia A. Villenas, anthropology. The class focuses on community engagement and civic participation.
“Students may learn from Ms. Brown that turning people into committed voters and building political power involves the hard work of respectful listening, engaging in difficult conversations about race and racism, and attention to building relationships,” Villenas said. “This is the long-term work of organizing the vote from below.”
The Black Voters Matter Fund works to increase the political power of black communities, even playing a large role in the 2017 Alabama U.S. Senate race by launching the Alabama Grassroot Mobilization Project, which helped to put grassroot groups in 18 Alabama counties. In addition, the fund was able to provide mini grants to more than 30 local communities to encourage communities to vote.
Brown has over twenty years of experience in the nonprofit sector for issues relating to social justice, civil rights, political empowerment and more. She served as a consultant and advisor for numerous donors, public foundations and the government for over 25 years as the principal owner of TruthSpeaks Consulting, Inc., a philanthropy advisory consulting firm in Atlanta.
Brown is also the founding project director of Grantmakers for Southern Progress. The GSP is a membership-based network that works to create structural change in the South. Currently, she is an Institute of Politics Fellow at the Kennedy School at Harvard University.
Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter Funds, has been involved in helping neglected communities learn about the importance of voting and the power that they can wield to change their future.
“I also hope students learn more about the central role that Black women continue to play in civil rights organizing, and in particular for the vote,” Villenas said.