Posted by on May 26, 2023 4:59 pm
Categories: News The Hill

Congressional Black Caucus launches ‘Summer of Action’ ahead of 2024 

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) will launch its “Summer of Action” in South Carolina on Saturday as part of a Black voter education and mobilization effort ahead of the 2024 elections. 

Beginning Saturday, the “Democracy for the People” event will kick off in Charleston, South Carolina and take place in at least 10 cities around the nation — including cities in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Tennessee. 

Charleston and places in the South were selected because “the South matters,” Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), chair of the caucus, told reporters on Friday.

The Summer of Action, announced earlier this month, follows the CBC’s Race and Democracy Summit. The summit discussed voting rights, preserving Black history and the fight for equity ahead of 2024.

“This is not about advancing a political agenda,” Horsford said on Friday. “This is about protecting our fundamental rights to vote for freedom of education in our schools, the denying of Black history — the banning of books, the elimination of Black civil rights leaders reflected in that history — and the other attempts by the Supreme Court and state actions now to undermine the efforts of Blackness.”

The CBC has been outspoken this year on a host of racially-divisive conversations and policies, including the expulsion of two Black Tennessee lawmakers from the state legislature in March, redistricting efforts, and affirmative action cases that will go before the Supreme Court this summer. 

“What I believe and what we’re finding is a lot of anti-Blackness rhetoric is now leading to direct attacks on the very existence and survival of Black people,” Horsford said. “And we understand that that has a quelching impact for some on what does this mean for our democracy and their right to participate in it. That’s why we’re having these sessions.”

Throughout the summer, Democracy for the People will partner with the non-profit CBC Institute with mayors, members of Divine Nine organizations, civil rights groups, historically Black colleges and universities and other community organizations. The focus of the summer will be threefold: first, organizers will work on voter education, including implications of the Supreme Court decisions. 

Following voter education will be voter registration efforts through town halls, canvassing and deploying mobile units to targeted ZIP codes. Efforts will also focus on registering young voters, Black men and citizens who were previously incarcerated. 

In helping to push young voters specifically to the polls, Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) will be involved in the Summer of Action. Frost is the youngest member of Congress and the only member of Gen Z serving in Congress.

Lastly, the CBC Institute will work to train fellows in how to properly mobilize and educate communities around many of the issues that have disproportionately affected Black Americans.

Saturday’s kickoff comes as the 2024 presidential race is beginning to heat up. 

While President Biden has announced his reelection campaign for the Democratic ticket, the GOP ticket is starting to look a little crowded. Former President Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) and conservative businessman Vivek Ramswamy have all announced their bids for the Republican nomination. 

Former Vice President Mike Pence is expected to also toss his hat in the ring, as is former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. 

But Horsford highlighted on Friday that the Summer of Action will not be to promote any one candidate on either side, but rather a time to highlight the issues facing Black communities and remind them of their rights regardless of the spread of anti-Blackness.

“We understand as Black people, it’s our rights and freedoms that are under attack by the courts, in our schools and in voting itself,” Horsford said. “And so this effort is really meant to help equip, train and inform our local communities on how they can best use their power and their agency and overcome apathy.”

Following Saturday’s kickoff in Charleston, the Summer of Action will head to Chicago on June 10. Democracy for the People will also culminate in Washington, D.C. in August for the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington.

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