Voting rights advocacy group Black Voters Matter has reached the final destination of its eight-day Freedom Ride for Voting Rights. “The Blackest Bus in America” made its last stop Saturday (June 26) in Washington D.C. at the National Mall, where the group’s co-founders Cliff Albright and LaTosha Brown and riders will meet with several other groups to campaign for voting rights, D.C. statehood and more pressing issues.
The NAACP’s D.C. chapter, Until Freedom, Transformative Justice Coalition, People for the American Way and the National Organization for Women are among the group’s slated to be in attendance.
The bus ride began on Juneteenth in Jackson, Mississippi. It’s rolled through Birmingham, Alabama, Nashville, Tennessee, Atlanta, Raleigh, North Carolina, Charleston, West Virginia and a handful of other cities before reaching D.C. According to a press release from Black Voters Matter, the main goals of the trip are to “raise public awareness of the danger of voter suppression bills being introduced in states across the country” and to “train partners, organizers, activists and Black voters via two hour ‘Freedom School’ workshop” in strategic locations across the south. The group also wants to attract media attention to the policy injustices being waged at voters throughout the country.
Outside the Supreme Court building, Brown rallied the crowd. “I’m a native of Selma, Alabama and there were people on the Edmund Pettus Bridge asking the same question that we’re asking today, “When will America grant us the democracy that we deserve? How long will it take? I want to look at the beautiful faces the faces that you see behind me right now, we built this country, we pay taxes, we show up everyday, we make this country better,” she said. “When will we get the kind of justice that we deserve? When will our right be protected? For hundreds of years, we’ve come to this place… We’ve asked the Supreme Court for some remedy that would actually protect the right to vote. And many of us even drove up here and came in buses in 2013.”
“We sat at the hearing and just as we said we would see a flood of voter suppression and the flood gates opened up,” she continued. “With that ruling it opened up the flood gates of what we’re dealing with right now. Right now, before we left for the freedom rides there were over 100,000 people that the Republican secretary of state said he’s purging from the voting list. In addition to that, we’ve been going through this year-in-and-year-out. When America? When America will we get the fullness of what has been promised to us, which is our democratic rights?”
Watch the event below: