Former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. speaks to a crowd in 2012. Holder encourages N.C. Central students, faculty, staff, and members of the community to vote and get involved to spark change in America at the virtual conversation series, "Fair and Equitable Elections" Friday October 16, 2020. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service.

NCCU hosts race and equity discussion featuring Eric H. Holder Jr, and Durham Mayor Steve Schewel

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 Former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Durham Mayor Steve Schewel encouraged N.C. Central University students, faculty, staff, and members of the public to vote to see a desperate change in America last Friday, which streamed through Youtube and Facebook.

The event was presented by N.C. Central University Office of Community Engagement and Durham Martin Luther King Jr. Committee Triangles MLK Jr. Committee Services.

Mayor Steve Schewel told Durham residents to vote early because votes by all people, especially African Americans, are under attack in this election.

 “Black voters are being discouraged to get out and vote at the polls,” Schewel said. “And our president is confusing us by making us think our vote doesn’t matter.” 

Schewel added that he wants voters to look at this presidential election as a chance to take back the country and “create a land of equality, justice, and freedom.”

The moderators for the event were YMCA of the Triangle Executive Vice President James White and NCCU Political Science Associate Professor Dr. Jarvis Hall.

Pastor William Lucas, Chairman of the Martin Luther King Jr. Triangle Committee, explained the purpose of the virtual event to the audience.

“I think of this event as the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama where young people walked across that bridge for our voting rights they knew they were walking for a purpose to make change,” he said.

Lucas explained that today he sees that bridge as damaged because it limits African Americans the right to vote for candidates who will represent them in resolving many social issues in America today.

For instance, most individuals who were convicted of a felony are denied their right to vote based on their criminal background. 

During the event, Holder, who serves as Chairman of the National Democratic Restricting Committee, expressed to the crowd that it is time for the faces of leadership and equality to change on Capitol Hill.

“This nation cannot stand for another four years of a Republican representation to represent the White House as well as people’s rights to vote based on their leadership power.” 

Holder aims to make changes to the John Lewis Rights to Voters Act 2020 which would improve democracy in the United States. 

“The new Right to Voters Act should cover the whole nation and make sure voting procedures throughout the country are fair,” he said.

If this bill is passed by the elected President, it will address issues around voting rights within the United States.  

Attorney Eric Holder Jr. added that change does not happen overnight, but as  “citizens we have to be involved to see that change.” 

“We as people must vote in congressmen, senators who will fight for our democracy and the rights of American citizens,” Holder said.       

 The event was presented by N.C. Central University Office of Community Engagement and Durham Martin Luther King Jr. Committee Triangles MLK Jr. Committee Services.

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