Why Blacks Should Vote: Rev. Dr. William Barber, II Addresses The NAACP (Video)

August 22, 2012 | By
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The Reverend Dr. William Barber, II addresses the Plenary Session of the NAACP Convention in Houston, Texas on July 11, 2012. His speech here was the one that immediately followed Mitt Romney’s speech to the NAACP.

Transcript provided by TrueBlueMajority

The Rev. Dr. William Barber, II
Charge to the 103rd Annual Convention of the NAACP
July 11, 2012

Good morning, NAACP

we certainly thank God for his grace
and to our Chair who has called us to be the face of hope
our President and CEO who has charged us to remind ourselves
that there are more with us than there are against us
to all the members of the National Political Action Committee
and to all the members of the staff
and to our vice chair and this convention chairman

Why are we here this morning in this plenary
and not in a workshop on voting rights?

In the testimony circle of my faith tradition
the saints often declare
if we ever needed the Lord we sure do need him now
I want to in the tradition of the hip hop tradition
sample from that faith tradition and say
if we ever needed to vote
we sure do need to vote now

for us the right to vote is not just a constitutional matter
but a right borne out of struggle out of sacrifice
and a gift from the God of justice
who 2600 years ago had his prophet say to every nation
you must do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before your God
and 2000 years ago had his Son say
that the least of these must be at the center of public policy

think for a moment where we are in the time in which we are in
and you will understand why
if we never ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now
here we are today, Sister Dukes
393 years since the first ship landed in Virginia to bring slaves
here we are Sister Coleman
where 242 years ago Crispus Attucks was the first African American
to die fighting for this country
236 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence
225 years since the Constitution was adopted
225 years since we were fractionized in that Constitution
and called three-fifths of a person
183 years since Mexico outlawed slavery
and 176 years since Texas revolted
because they wanted to keep their slaves
163 years since Harriet Tubman escaped slavery
160 years since Frederick Douglass
since somebody just quoted him
actually delivered in his…
actually delivered in his 4th of July speech
that America’s July 4th celebrations were fraud bombast hypocrisy
until America did right by the sons and daughters of slaves
149 years since the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation
147 years since the end of the Civil war
142 years since the ratification of the 15th Amendment
118 years since the riots of Wilmington North Carolina to stop black political power
108 years since the riots in Springfield Illinois
68 years since Smith v. Allwright opened up primaries for black people
68 years since Primus King was denied the right to vote in Georgia in a primary
58 years since Brown v. Board of Education
57 since the brutal murder of Emmitt Till
52 since the sit ins in Greensboro organized by A&T and Bennett students
46 years after Barbara Jordan was the first African American to sit in the Texas Senate
48 years since Fannie Lou Hamer said there comes a time
when you get sick and tired of being sick and tired
51 years since Dr. King said to the AFL CIO
that the only voting bloc that could transform america
would be for blacks and labor and poor whites and latinos
to learn how to work together

49 years since the murder of Medgar Evers
49 years since the March on Washington
49 years since the bombing of four girls in a Birmingham church
48 years since the signing of the Civil Rights Act
47 years since Bloody Sunday
47 years since the Voting Rights act
47 years since Malcolm X was killed
44 years since students at South Carolina State were massacred
44 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King
44 years since the signing of the Fair Housing Act
43 years since conservatives dismantled the Office of Economic Opportunity
43 years since my parents fought to integrate public schools

3 years since Barack whose name means Praise the Lord
was sworn in to be President of these United States

8 years since James Johnson was wrongfully incarcerated
6 years since John [Menier?] was wrongfully incarcerated
One year since Troy Davis was murdered by the state
4 months and 11 days since the shooting of Trayvon Martin
4 months since the secret documents revealed by the National Organization on Marriage
that they started the same sex marriage fight not for moral reasons
but to split the black and LGBT community
in order to defeat President Obama
We have been through too much
and seen too much
and fought for too much
If we ever needed to vote…!
that’s why you’re here

but there’s one more piece
not only have we been through too much
there’s still too much to fight
27.4% of African Americans in poverty
12 million children red yellow black and white in poverty
27 million Americans unemployed
14% of African Americans unemployed
49 million Americans uninsured
1 out of every 5 African Americans uninsured
one million African Americans incarcerated

Politicians can say “elect me and I’ll take your healthcare”
“elect me and I’ll take your voting rights”
“elect me and I’ll take your social security”
“elect me and I’ll resegregate your public schools”
“elect me and I’ll ignore your poverty”
and still get votes!

Here we are
22 million African Americans eligible to vote
and yet 8 million didn’t vote
1% of the population controls 42% of the wealth
10% of the population controls 93% of the wealth
117 days until election day

and across this nation there are tough times
we’ve seen an implosion of our economy
despite the evidence there are those who want to give pity to billionaires
and inflict more pain on the poor
we see politicians that pander to bigots and race baiting
those who have been forced to get on welfare
never in history has so much money been spent to resist equality
the gross sums of money being spent to take us backwards
is lewd, is pornographic is blatant and is arrogant

these are troubling times
corporation are treated like people
people are treated like things
banks get bailouts from loans with our money with no interest
and the banks turn around
and lend us our money back to us with interest
these are critical times
and if we ever needed to vote
we sure do need to vote now
I don’t know if Republicans are going to show up
I don’t know if Democrats are going to show up
but the sons and daughters of slaves we better the hell show up!
That’s why we’re here

Our parents did more with less than we have today
with less they beat slavery
with less they beat Jim Crow
with less they beat lynching
with less they beat the KKK
with less Harriet Tubman got 500 slaves out of slavery
she didn’t have email
she didn’t have text facebook
she didn’t have [???]
she didn’t have texting
she even know what Twitter was
she didn’t have a car
but she had faith in God
a 38 pistol on her side
moss on the north side of a tree
and a north star in the middle of the night
she did more with less
we must do more with more

so from now until November
email everybody you know
tell em to show up
cause if we ever needed to vote,
we sure do need to vote now
text everybody
tell em to show up
myspace everybody
tell em to show up
take some of them friends you don’t need to have off Facebook
and get some real friends up there
tell them to show up
call everybody you know
knock on everybody’s door
I don’t know how to tweet
but my children or daughter can tweet
I told them to tweet tweet tweet,
tweet tweet
tweet every body you know!
because God is not going to do for us what we can do for ourselves
if we ever needed to vote,
we sure need to vote now

and when we do Leon what we are supposed to do
God will show up
God will bless our efforts
he always has
he always will
when we work our faith
miracles and movements
faith is what you believe about God
works is what you do because of what you believe about God
faith without works is destitute and devoid
but faith with works is dynamic and can change a destiny
whenever we work our faith, God shows up
when Moses stretched out his rod
God showed up
the wind came down
the Red Sea opened up
Pharoah was brought down
when they marched around Jericho
God showed up
walls fell down
when David threw the rock
God showed up
Goliath came down
when Daniel
went in the lions’ den
God showed up
the lions calmed down
when Esther
went to see the King
God showed up
evil plans were turned around
when a woman
touched the hem of his garment
God showed up
blood disease slowed down
when a boy
gave the lord fish
five loaves
God showed up
and a buffet came down
when Jesus went to the cross God showed up
Satan’s kingdom was torn down
early Sunday morning resurrection happened
and the angels had a holy ghost throwdown

when Thurgood Marshall went to the supreme court
and America’s segregation was brought down
when Rosa Parks sat down
God showed up
Jim Crow had to step down
if we vote
the tea party will be voted down
every time we put our faith and our works together
evil is shut down
God shows up!
I got a question for the NAACP
Do I have a witness?
Won’t God show up?
Won’t God show up?
Won’t God show up?
What’s in your hands?
What’s in your hands?
Use what you got—
God will give you what you need!
Won’t he show up?
Won’t he show up?
If I was in North Carolina I’d say say yeah
say yeah
say yeah yeah yeah yeah
now tell your neighbor, “neighbor
if we ever needed to vote
we sure enough sure enough sure enough
need to vote!
right now!”
and God!


While you are standing, get out your cell phones
and text somebody right now
and text them, if ever needed to vote
we sure do need to vote right now
in fact stand up when you text them,
so the whole world can see

or tweet tweet
tweet, tweet it, tweet it!
if you ever needed to vote
if we ever need to vote
we sure do need to vote right now
cause God will not do for us
he just won’t do it
what we have to do for ourselves
but if we do our part, God will show up
won’t he show up?

now, as you are seated
in the tradition of faith that I am in, we have a charge
but after the charge there is never a walking away
the charge gives us clarity about “why”
but there is always a strategy session on “how”
cause we have to hook excitement to the strategy
so now the strategy…

he introduces the panel

Special Thanks to Daily Kos


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