Black Voters Matter Co-Founder LaTosha Brown gives 13th Annual Murray Lecture

On Feb. 16, Brown gave the 13th Annual Murray lecture, speaking about her work as Co-Founder of Black Voters Matter and the future of American government.


Black Voters Matter Co-Founder LaTosha Brown gives Murray Lecture on Feb. 16, 2021, with a Zoom background of Georgian voters. Screenshot taken of lecture. (Hustler Staff/Sally Johnson)

Sally Johnson, Staff Writer

Black Voters Matter Co-Founder LaTosha Brown gave the 13th Annual Murray Lecture over Zoom on Feb. 16. 

The event was moderated by Rosevelt Noble, assistant dean of residential colleges and director of the Bishop Johnson Black Cultural Center. In the lecture, Brown spoke about voter suppression, her vision for American democracy and how she maintains hope for the future. 

Strategies for Democracy

Brown began the lecture by asking viewers to imagine what the world would look like without racism. 

“We say that we are going to one day to eliminate racism,” Brown said. “But the truth of the matter is, how will we ever eliminate racism when we don’t spend the time with the question of what that looks like?”

Vision, voice and victory serve as the “three V’s” to Brown’s strategy in encouraging Americans to vote.

Referencing vision, Brown told viewers that it is essential to imagine a future in the U.S. without racism. 

“Every single thing that has been produced and manifested in the physical world was first envisioned by somebody, somewhere,” Brown said. 

When discussing the second “V,”  voice, Brown encouraged viewers to empower their own voices to impact the world. 

“We have to be attuned enough to recognize the right circumstances to use our voices so that [what] we are speaking [about] can actually catch root,” Brown said. “It may take a while to grow, but we’ve made a deposit in something that can ultimately lead to a harvest.”

Discussing the third “V,” victory, Brown explained that her image of victory is every American having a voice in government.

“It doesn’t matter if they’re a libertarian, a democrat, a republican, a conservative—even a staunch racist—if I was at a polling site and I saw someone trying to keep someone from exercising their right to vote, I would fight ferociously for them to have their vote,” Brown said. 

Voter Suppression

Brown continued to discuss the threat of voter suppression in the U.S. 

“There are some deep, deep problems within the electoral system of our country,” Brown said. “Voter suppression is what I feel to be the greatest threat to our democracy.” 

Per Brown, Black Voters Matter, the organization she co-founded, encourages voters to register to fight against voter suppression. 

“We had a message that was affirming and gave people a sense of their power. When people feel powerful, they are more likely to act,” Brown said. 

Hope for the Future

When asked about the future of the U.S. under President Biden, Brown said she has hope for American democracy. 

Brown added that though this presidential administration seems responsive to racial issues, the fight against racism and voter suppression isn’t over. She stated that having hope for the future and humanity is one of her greatest motivators.

“I am a Black woman living in the Deep South. My superpower is having hope,” Brown said. “After everything I’ve seen, I’m more hopeful than ever because now, America’s racism is front and center.”

Advice to College Students

Brown ended the Murray Lecture by engaging with questions from viewers, providing advice about dealing with fear and finding a vision. 

“I encourage all young people to have a political home,” Brown said. “Every college student should join some political organization. Young people can also support people that are on the front lines of organizations like mine.”

Brown added that she feels that young people have the opportunity to reimagine the U.S.

“We need a new generation of people to envision a better world and the nation we all deserve. You all are literally our best chance of getting there,” Brown said.