Pictured are U.S. Rep.Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio, who also chairs the Congressional Black Caucus of Blacks in Congress, and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden
By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-n-chief, Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Most Read Online Black Newspaper and Newspaper Blog, Tel: (216) 659-0473
Kathy Wray Coleman is a community activist and 20 year investigative journalist who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper. (www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.comLAS VEGAS, Nevada- U.S. Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, a Warrensville Heights, Ohio Democrat and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus of Blacks in Congress, got a standing ovation on Monday at the 105th Annual NAACP Convention in Las Vegas as voting rights was the focus of the gathering of Civil Rights advocates.
Billed under the theme 'All In For Justice and Equality,' Wednesday is the final day of the convention, and Vice president Joe Biden will speak at 11 am. But neither President Obama nor First Lady Obama are among the attendees or speakers there, which is rare since America's first Black president took office in 2009 and won a second four-year term in 2012.
"Vote like your life depended on it, vote as if the lives of your children depended on it," said Fudge during her speech at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada where the five-day convention that began on July 19 was held.
The congresswoman, whose district includes parts of the predominantly Black major metropolitan city of Cleveland and its eastern suburbs, gave a get-out-the vote presentation as the November election nears with select gubernatorial and Congressional seats open for grabs across the country, including the race for governor in Ohio.
A former Warrensville Heights mayor and past national president of Delta Sigma Theta Inc, Fudge has been out front on voting rights at the federal level and at home in her majority Black 11th congressional district, one of 16 congressional districts in the battleground state of Ohio. Most of her constituents live below the poverty line and the federal lawmaker is outright unnerved with the trend by state legislatures in several states in passing voter suppression laws in rapid numbers, including in Ohio where a federal judge earlier this year struck down a state law that denied early voting three days before general elections as unconstitutional.
Many of the convention goers were attorneys, some were academicians, a few on program were judges and politicians, and others simply were longtime loyal members of the nation's oldest and most renowned Civil Rights organization. Forums ranged from health care, to education, to the mass incarceration of Black men, many of whom are denied adequate legal representation due to poverty, and racism, says the NAACP.
Other program speakers include Journalist and TV One Political Commentator Roland Martin, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock, and U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Bernice Donald.
Among the performers were Regina Bell and Ruben Studdard.
Newly installed National NAACP President Cornell Williams Brooks, who succeeds Benjamin Jealous, made his debut on Saturday, the opening day of the convention, and told a crowd of thousands that the NAACP is in the midst of a "revolution reconstruction period."