“Vote for me until I can.” LaTosha Brown, award-winning organizer, co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund, and jazz singer, spoke to Middle and Upper School students about the role of women and people of color in politics, and how young people can influence change and encourage voting. Brown was a very timely speaker for this year's Mercer Tate ‘48 Lecture for Public Service.
Reflections about the radical reimagining of our nation inspired students to question how to create change, even when they are too young to vote. Brown shared many ideas for youth engagement: joining youth-led organizations; talking to adults about issues impacting young people and their communities; continuing dialogues about democracy in school and with friends; getting others to engage by listening to them; thinking creatively and with bold vision; partnering and collaborating; and embracing their power to change everything. "You are never too young to organize," she said.
Between powerful reflections, Brown shared her beautiful singing voice with the group, performing verses from “This Little Light of Mine,” a gospel song associated with freedom and the Civil Rights Movement. In response to a question from Anna Pendse ’25 about the connection between music and advocacy, Brown noted, “Music is an organizing tool. It connects human beings and taps into humanity and our collective power.”
She gave attendees much to think about, particularly at this moment in time. “Close your eyes, what would America look like without racism? It is very hard; racism is such a part of the fabric of our country. What would America look like if she was a true democracy? What would you want the nation to look like?”
“Even when I'm tired, even when I'm frustrated, I center myself in this concept that I absolutely love humanity. That is my inspiration.”
Thank you to our student panelists Sona Wink ’21, India Valdivia ’21, Faruq Adger ’21, Martina Kiewek ’22, Ryan Lewis ’21, Olivia Fisher ’25, Lani Okewole ’25, Rachel Cornejo ’27 who led our discussion today.