Originally Printed on Madame Noire
“Somebody just texted me, I’m a little—that LeBron James tweeted something about me. And I love him,” LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund (BVMF) said in the middle of her interview with MadameNoire over the phone.
While her excitement is palpable over the phone, the reasoning behind the NBA superstar’s tweet is quite the opposite.
Brown, whose organization is dedicated to bolster rights and access for Black voters, was the recent victim of voter suppression on Tuesday during Georgia’s primary, tweeting that she spent three hours at the polls. On Tuesday Georgia, along with Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina and West Virginia, held the first major step in a long line of events leading to Election Day in November.
But Brown wasn’t the only one. And her encounter with voting in Atlanta was shared by many Georgians who felt triggered by previous voting experiences. In 2016 with the election of Donald Trump, and again in 2018 when Stacey Abrams unsuccessfully tried to highlight voter suppression in her gubernatorial bid against Governor Brian Kemp, and how it was used to swipe a fair election right under her grasp.
For Brown, a Selma, Alabama, native, this fight is centered in her being.
“I feel like I am in the perfect storm. I feel like this moment is a culmination of so much that has influenced and shaped me as an activist, as a Black woman, as a southerner.”
To maintain a sense of normalcy in this climate she leans on her craft as a professional singer, working in her “victory and peace garden,” meditative prayer and letting herself be swept up by the sounds of nature in her yard.
As a Black woman, Brown also understands that her group remains underserved in the political arena. While Black women’s voting power is acknowledged and lauded, there remains a gap of understanding and dividends have spilled over into the collection plate. It is time for Black women to be thoroughly heard and for policy to align in its place.
“We’ve never had representation but in the last 50 years, we have been the most consistent turnout base than any constituency in this country,” Brown continued. “How has our participation elevated the positioning the access to power? But when you look at our health outcomes, when you look at our economics. We’re paid on pennies on the dollar compared to our white male counterparts. Yet we’re more loyal and consistent to the Democratic party then they are.”
In the middle of a global pandemic which has largely taken a back seat due to the ongoing police brutality and degradation of Black communities, Brown’s voice remains steady and powerful over the phone, creating a great sense of comfort in a sea of turbulence.
Brown and her frequent collaborator Cliff Albright founded the BVMF in 2016 when stakes were again at an all-time high.
“We saw how the political environment was shifting when he [Trump] was running for office and he was a republican nominee and that’s when we knew we had to literally like put—get our institution together. Not necessarily in reaction to him, but in reaction to what we felt was coming down the pipeline for our communities,” she said. “And so we moved immediately. We hit the ground and we have not stopped.”