Author: NAACP Communications | Date: 20 November 2018
BILOXI, MS (November 20, 2018)—Nationally renowned Rev. Dr. William Barber, II will be the special guest speaker at a Get Out the Vote rally held in Biloxi one week before the state’s Nov. 27 runoff election for offices that include the U.S. Senator’s seat.
The Mississippi Poor People’s Campaign/National Call for Moral Revival GOTV Rally will begin Nov. 20, 6:00 p.m. at the St. Paul United Methodist Church, 696 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Biloxi. Rev. Elijah Mitchell serves as pastor of St. Paul UMC. The event is free and open to the public.
Rev. Barber said the event is a “call to action for all faith communities, disenfranchised voters and people of color to take a moral stand against the attacks of our voting rights.”
Barber’s visit comes on the heels of a highly intense special runoff election for the Mississippi U.S. Senate seat between Democrat Mike Espy and Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith. Last week, Hyde-Smith drew controversy with two incendiary comments in public settings. While supporting a local North Mississippi candidate, she was recorded as saying that if the supporter invited her to a “public hanging,” that she would be “on the front row.” When later questioned, Hyde-Smith called the comments “an exaggerated expression of regard.”
Hyde-Smith was later recorded as saying to supporters that she approved the idea of making it “just a little more difficult” for “liberal folks in those other schools” to vote. Her campaign officials later stated that she was “making a joke.”
Hyde-Smith’s comments have received strong criticism from both the Mississippi and National NAACP.
“Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith’s shameful remarks prove once again how Trump has created a social and political climate that normalizes hateful and racist rhetoric. We’ve seen this in Florida from Ron DeSantis and others during this election season and denounce it,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and former Mississippi NAACP State President. “Hyde-Smith’s decision to joke about ‘hanging,’ in a state known for its violent and terroristic history toward African Americans is sick. To envision this brutal and degenerate type of frame during a time when Black people, Jewish People, and immigrants are still being targeted for violence by White nationalists and racists is hateful and hurtful. Any politician seeking to serve as the national voice of the people of Mississippi should know better. Her choice of words serves as an indictment of not only her lack of judgment, but her lack of empathy, and most of all lack of character.”
Rev. Dr. Barber currently serves as President of Repairers of the Breach, a non-profit organization that promotes a high moral agenda with the constitutional values of the laws of the country.
Barber is also National Co-Chair of Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. His initiative is rebooting the strategies and inroads made by the Poor People’s Campaign founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. just months before his April 1968 assassination. Barber previously drew national attention as President of the North Carolina NAACP when he organized the headline-making “Moral Monday” political action campaign that helped win several key battles against extreme voter suppression and voter fraud and unconstitutional redistricting of political lines. The Biloxi GOTV rally will begin before Espy and Hyde-Smith will debate later that evening at Farm Bureau’s auditorium in Jackson.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a rally at the Mississippi Coliseum in Biloxi on Nov. 26, the night before the election.