Movement for Black Lives, Working Families Party, Other National Organizations Join BVM’s National Voter Outreach Initiative Honoring 60th Anniversary of Original Freedom Ride

Black Voters Matter (BVM) today announced the dates and locations for its upcoming Freedom Ride for Voting Rights, an education and outreach campaign to increase support for voting rights legislation, advocate for D.C. statehood, and build Black voting power. Beginning on Juneteenth (June 19), BVM will board its signature “Blackest Bus in America” for a voter outreach tour from Jackson, Mississippi to Washington D.C., making stops in key southern states to rally with partner organizations and concerned citizens and discuss the issues impacting their communities. BVM had previously announced the new initiative earlier this month on the 60-year anniversary of the original Freedom Rides.

The #FreedomRide campaign and bus tour seeks to: 1) raise awareness and drive action against the voter suppression movement and support for HR1 and HR4 Voting Rights bills in Congress, 2) support the growing national campaign for D.C. statehood, and 3) engage with community partners to build power around issues of importance to Black communities throughout the South and the country. 

BVM also announced partnerships with national civil rights and racial justice organizations as part of its Freedom Ride. Advancement Project; Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; The Working Families Party; Movement for Black Lives Electoral Justice Project; Black Church PAC; National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; Black Women’s RoundTable; Until Freedom; Make it Plain; Birmingham Civil Rights Institute; Transformative Justice Coalition; and the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center are expected to join for the Freedom Ride and offer organizational support. Roland Martin Unfiltered will also serve as a media partner.

“With state legislatures actively working to undermine our rights and strip us of our most basic freedoms, the parallels to Juneteenth are uncanny,” said Cliff Albright and LaTosha Brown, co-founders of Black Voters Matter. “Every bill to suppress votes, criminalize protests, and weaken Black power is a reminder of the enduring history of slavery in this country. But we are launching this Freedom Ride for Voting Rights on Juneteenth alongside local and national partners to show voters, communities, and elected officials of how far we’ve come and remind them what Black power can do.”

Barbara Arwine, President and Founder of Transformative Justice Coalition, said: “This Freedom Ride builds upon the great success of our recent John Lewis May 8th National Day of Action, which was an opening salvo in the people’s pushback against the vicious assault on our voting rights coming from state legislatures. This will be a major journey enlisting tens of thousands of Americans to raise their voices demanding that the  U.S. Congress fulfill its responsibility to protect our voting rights.”

This summer, BVM’s Freedom Ride for Voting Rights will kick off with a Juneteenth celebration in Jackson, followed by stops in each of the following cities:

  • Saturday, June 19: Jackson, MS; Birmingham, AL
  • Sunday, June 20: Nashville, TN
  • Monday, June 21: Atlanta, GA
  • Tuesday, June 22: Columbia, SC
  • Wednesday, June 23: Raleigh, NC
  • Thursday, June 24: Charleston, WV
  • Friday, June 25: Richmond, VA
  • Saturday, June 26: Washington, D.C.

BVM’s Freedom Rides for Voting Rights, which continues the tradition of the original Freedom Rides, comes as more than 40 states consider legislation to restrict voting rights, which would have a disproportionate impact on Black communities. In addition to voter outreach and engagement, the bus tour will raise awareness about this harmful legislation and empower communities to combat restrictions to early voting, absentee ballots, and other important reforms. Similar to the original Freedom Rides, BVM is also encouraging organizations, activists and supporters to join the caravan for part or all of the route, creating space for those who would like to participate whether for just one day or multiple days.