‘Blackest Bus in America’ kicks off in Jackson on Juneteenth promoting voting rights

‘Blackest Bus in America’ kicks off in Jackson on Juneteenth promoting voting rights
‘Blackest Bus in America’ kicks off in Jackson on Juneteenth promoting voting rights(Black Votes Matter)
Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 12:03 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Civil rights activists who fought for equality 60 years ago in Mississippi will be center stage at a voting rights rally Saturday.

The leaders are participating in a national outreach campaign called Black Voters Matter.

BVM, Jackson’s NAACP, and the ACLU of Mississippi are on a Freedom Ride from Mississippi to Washington D.C., making stops in key southern states to promote voting rights.

The tour or ride continues the tradition of the original Freedom Rides and historic protests 60 years ago that challenged racial segregation in the South. Activists rode buses across the country to fight injustices and won.

Organizers say this campaign fights the dozens of legislatures who are considering legislation to restrict voting rights.

“With state legislatures actively working to undermine our rights and strip us of our most basic freedoms, the parallels to Juneteenth are uncanny,” said Cliff Albright and LaTosha Brown, co-founders of Black Voters Matter.

The event includes food and music and remarks from Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, State Senator Angela Turner Ford, Arekia Bennett, Wendell H. Paris, Jaribu Hill, Fred Douglas Moore Clark Sr, and Danyelle Holmes.

The aim is to:

  • raise awareness and drive action against the voter suppression movement and support for HR1 and HR4 Voting Rights bills in Congress
  • support the growing national campaign for D.C. statehood
  • engage with community partners to build power around issues of importance to Black communities throughout the South and the country

“Every bill to suppress votes, criminalize protests, and weaken Black power is a reminder of the enduring history of slavery in this country. But we are launching this Freedom Ride for Voting Rights on Juneteenth alongside local and national partners to show voters, communities, and elected officials of how far we’ve come and remind them what Black power can do,” Albright and Brown added.

The event is from 11 a.m. - 1p.m. Saturday, June 19, at Owens Health and Wellness Center at Tougaloo College.

Here are all the stops along the tour:

  • Saturday, June 19: Jackson, MS; Birmingham, AL
  • Sunday, June 20: Nashville, TN
  • Monday, June 21: Atlanta, GA
  • Tuesday, June 22: Columbia, SC
  • Wednesday, June 23: Raleigh, NC
  • Thursday, June 24: Charleston, WV
  • Friday, June 25: Richmond, VA
  • Saturday, June 26: Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba had this to say about Juneteenth becoming a national holiday: “It is critical that we not only teach history but that we teach and reconcile with our correct history - a history rich in beauty and tragedy. It is my hope that the long-overdue gesture of officially recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday will set into motion a wealth of true acts of justice around public safety, policing, voting rights, and racial equity. I am committed to the work that still lies ahead.”

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