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Rising to Freedom

February 16 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


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“Freedom is never given; it is won.” – A. Philip Randolph

The United States is perched upon a precipice: In the next decade, we will either become a genuine, multiethnic democracy for the very first time or tumble backward into Jim Crow-era disenfranchisement. Right now, lawmakers in dozens of states are advancing bills that would use modern poll taxes and literacy tests to prevent millions of people from casting a vote. Whether they will succeed depends entirely on the power of our collective resistance. In this conversation, community organizers and politicians will offer wisdom about what we all can do to demand free and easy access to the ballot. And we’ll examine the lessons learned from organizing efforts in the 2020 election about the best way to encourage our neighbors to make their voices heard!

This conversation is part of the Freedom Rising Salons, a year-long conversation series that features thought leaders, organizers, artists and modern prophets reflecting on crucial justice issues, and what we all can do to rise and meet them.

In this conversation, Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis will talk with LaTosha Brown and Lisa Sharon Harper about what we all can do to demand free and easy access to the ballot. And they’ll examine the lessons learned from organizing efforts in the 2020 election about the best way to encourage our neighbors to make their voices heard.

LaTosha Brown
LaTosha (she/her) 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. She 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.

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.

Lisa Sharon Harper
A prolific poet, artist, and activist, Lisa Sharon Harper is the founder and president of FreedomRoad.us, a consulting group dedicated to shrinking the narrative gap in our nation by designing forums and experiences that bring common understanding, common commitment and common action. Ms. Harper leads trainings that increase clergy and community leaders’ capacity to organize people of faith toward a just world.

Ms. Harper is the author of several books, including Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican…or Democrat (The New Press, 2008); Left Right and Christ: Evangelical Faith in Politics (Elevate, 2011); Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith (Zondervan, 2014); and the critically acclaimed, The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong can be Made Right (Waterbrook, a division of Penguin Random House, 2016). The Very Good Gospel, recognized as the “2016 Book of the Year” by Englewood Review of Books, explores God’s intent for the wholeness of all relationships in light of today’s headlines.

Ms. Harper earned her Masters degree in Human Rights from Columbia University in New York City, and served as Sojourners Chief Church Engagement Officer. In this capacity, she fasted for 22 days as a core faster in 2013 with the immigration reform Fast for Families. She trained and catalyzed evangelicals in St. Louis and Baltimore to engage the 2014 push for justice in Ferguson and the 2015 healing process in Baltimore, and she educated faith leaders in South Africa to pull the levers of their new democracy toward racial equity and economic inclusion.

This conversation is made possible in part through sponsorship by The Middle Project.

The Middle Project prepares ethical leaders for a more just society. It is an institute that brings together youth, young adults and adults from many fields and faith traditions.

The Middle Project unites progressive leaders who are ready for a revolutionary and prophetic way of using power and resources to act locally and think globally to heal the human family. The Middle Project takes its strength and approach from the progressive faith traditions that have played a major role in America’s greatest democratic achievements: the abolition of slavery, civil rights, universal suffrage, and the anti-war movement. www.middleproject.org


February 16
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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