Statement from NAACP President Derrick Johnson On Tonight’s Presidential Town Halls


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“The most significant takeaway from the first debate is that Black Americans have more to lose if we do not vote this November. Our nation is more divided now than we have been in recent times, and tonight’s competing town halls are indicative of the divisiveness that is tearing at the fabric of our society. Once again, the American people are being robbed of the opportunity to hear from the two candidates who are vying for our votes. We deserve a chance to hear from both candidates about how they plan to improve the health and economic outcomes for the Black community, especially as we continue to feel the impact of COVID-19 at tragic rates. Moreover, we need to know their plans to protect our civil rights.

“This election cycle we cannot become complacent or distracted because there is too much at stake for Black people. We must mobilize and not give in to the direct and indirect efforts of those who will attempt to delegitimize our most sacred democratic process through voter intimidation and suppression at the polls.

“We must use the power of our vote to elect leaders that will protect Black lives. More than ever, it is clear that we need to vote because our lives depend on it, and I hope that tonight’s town halls will encourage voters to turn out to the polls in record numbers.”

Since August, the NAACP has led its Black Voices Change Lives campaign to mobilize Black American voters across the country, especially in key battleground states. The NAACP has also invested seven-figures in ad campaigns to reach the Black community and encourage people to register, get educated, and plan to vote this November.



Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization, and shares our commitment to equal rights.

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