Speaking to the World
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Co-Founder of Black Voters Matter, Award-Winning Visionary Thought Leader, Institution Builder, Cultural Activist & Artist
“There is power in my voice! It is a divine gift that I use to connect different worlds. I bridge the philanthropy world to the grassroots community, traditional politics to grassroots politics, and practitioners to the scholarship of movement building.”
LaTosha Brown is an award-winning visionary thought leader, institution builder, Cultural Activist and Artist, and Connector. She is a nationally recognized, “go-to” expert in Black Voting Rights and Voter Suppression, Black Women’s Empowerment, and Philanthropy. Her voice is the nexus between the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power Movement, and Black Lives Matter. LaTosha is the Co-Founder of Black Voters Matter, Black Voters Matter Fund and Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute. These initiatives are designed to boost Black voter registration and turnout, as well as increase power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities. Read More >
LaTosha is also the Visionary, Founder and Co-Anchor of a regional network called the Southern Black Girls & Women’s Consortium. This is $100 million, 10-year initiative to invest in organizations that serve Black women and girls. The goal of the consortium is to create a new approach to philanthropy by allowing every component of the program, inception to execution, to be created by Black girls and women in the South. Ms. Brown is also the 2020 Hauser Leader at the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School, the 2020 Leader in Practice at Harvard Kennedy School’s Women and Public Policy Program, and a 2020-2021 American Democracy fellow at the Charles Warren Center at Harvard.
LaTosha has worked in 23 different countries to include Kenya, Guyana, and Brazil. Her next mission involves resourcing and empowering women across the Diaspora. “I don’t want women to be seen as victims; they are the problem solvers for the world. I am convinced that Black Women are going to liberate the world!” Ms. Brown has received numerous awards and accolades for her work. She has been featured on ABC, CBS, CNN, Democracy Now, and PBS. Her Op-Eds have been showcased in the New York Times, Politico and Essence. Her work has also been highlighted in several docuseries: What’s Eating America?, American Swamp, and Finding Justice. Read Less ^
The cornerstone of democracy is the guaranteed right to vote. However, since 2014 over 33 million American citizens have been dropped from the voting rolls. Most have been moved from the rolls due to a resurgence of voter suppression tactics and politics. Minority voters have been intentionally targeted with these efforts and are disproportionately been impacted. This is perhaps the biggest existential threat to American democracy in modern times. However, as voters and citizens we can solve the voter suppression issue in ways that not only protect the right to vote but ultimately strengthens our democracy.
We’re currently in an era where people are receiving information and developing political ideologies through non-vetted social media outlets, political soundbites, and opinion based news networks. Political extremists have built a base of supporters by propagating false information, sensationalized conspiracies and theories based in fear and not fact. This has led to the wide spread distrust of American voters in political systems. How do we build trust in the American democratic system? What reforms are needed and what must we protect at all costs?
As America becomes younger and more diverse we can predict that an inevitable political shift will occur. What will that shift look like and what will be the long-term impact on democracy? Will identity politics play a role in unifying and/or widening the political divide in America? How will the new majority save and/or expand American Democracy?
The 2013 Shelby vs. Holder Supreme Court decision gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1964. It opened the floodgates for the devolution of voting rights, thus leaving the door wide open for voter suppression. Since the ruling, we have witnessed the accelerated rolling back of voting rights protections, particularly in the South. We have also seen the reestablishment of anti-democratic state based laws and the implementation of political barriers that prevent free and fair access to the ballot. In light of this, how do we protect the right to vote with a weakened Voting Rights Act? How do we strengthen democracy in an environment where the right to vote for many is openly being attacked? What are the most effective and innovative strategies in this current political environment to address voter suppression, mobilize voters and expand democracy.
On January 21, 2017, the world witnessed one of the largest protest marches ever in modern history— all organized and led by women. In December 2017, we witnessed an unexpected rare and historic defeat for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama. What led to this defat? It resulted from the work, coordination and political strategy led by women. We also witnessed in the 2018 midterms the landslide election of more women members of Congress than ever in this country’s history. Currently, we also have the largest field of women candidates for the highest office in the land—the American presidency. On the eve of the 2020 presidential cycle, what will be the impact of women voters next cycle? What are the factors that propelled this increased representation of women within political leadership? Are we moving towards reflective democracy? How is this political moment different from previous feminist and suffrage movements? How does gender identity impact and/or influence the national political landscape? Is America ready for a woman as president of the United States?
America’s political landscape is shifting in both the global and domestic arenas in ways that threaten the foundation of this country as being a democratic nation. We are witnessing: the shifting of the perception and function of the Executive Branch, the increasing over-reach of Presidential powers, the politicization of the Supreme Court, the intentional reduction of the role of federal agencies in state oversight, an increased polarized Congress based along party lines, and the stacking of the federal courts with conservative ring-wing judges. We are also bearing witness to the passage and implementation of deeply troubling policies, state sanctioned acts and legislation that impact the civil and human rights of immigrant groups, women, people of color and the LGBTQ community. In light of these political changes, we must ask ourselves two critical questions: 1.) How do we implement innovative practices and new political organizing models to reverse this trend? 2.) How do we reinforce and expand America’s commitment to democracy? How do we inspire, engage and motivate American citizens to participate in the political process?
"I just wanted to say, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! She was phenomenal!!! I received several comments including this one that said, “LATOSHA BROWN FOR PRESIDENT”. She came onto the stage singing with that powerful voice of hers and it set the tone for one of the most powerful messages that we have heard in a long time. The president of Rowan University enjoyed her message."
"'Definitely loved her message and her exchange with students!'...'Amazing! We need to bring her back again!'...'Latosha Brown was fire - Great start to the month!'"
"Thank you so much. Everyone loved LaTosha. She had a great message and I believe she inspired many people to work harder for the change they would like to see in the world."
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