Nation’s Oldest Minority-Focused Presidential Forum To Bring Democrat Candidates To Des Moines, IA
March 12, 2015 – Des Moines, Iowa – This year marks the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. As Republicans and Democrats continue forging forward to the 2016 election, Iowa will be a key battle ground for candidates in the upcoming election, especially hot button issues facing minorities such as incarceration rates, juvenile justice, immigration reform, economic disparities, and voter’s rights.
Today, the Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum announced its return to Iowa in January, 2016. Founded in 1984 by Forum Co-Chairs Mary Campos and Former Iowa State Representative Wayne Ford, the Forum is the nation’s oldest minority-focused event for presidential candidates, which brings Democratic candidates to Iowa to discuss issues of significance to minorities.
Since it’s inception, the groundbreaking event, now one of the oldest presidential forums in America, has brought Presidential candidates; including current President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Edwards, John Kerry, Al Gore, George McGovern, Walter Mondale, and John Glenn, to Iowa, which is one of the most sought after states during Presidential Elections. In addition, the Forum has been attended by President Clinton, Bill Russell, Cornel West, and others. Moderators have included Soledad O’Brien, Tavis Smiley, Lester Holt, Ray Suarez, and Michele Norris. It was CSPAN’s first “Road to the White House” event in 1984. Telecasters and broadcasters have included MSNBC, Sirius Satellite Radio, HDNet, Black Entertainment Television (BET), Mediacom, Telemundo, and Iowa Public Television. The Forum was the first of its kind, paving the way as a platform for Presidential candidates to share their plans specifically affecting minorities across the nation. This will be the 7th Forum since it began in 1984. Details will be forthcoming regarding the specific date and location.
“Nuestra voz es Nuestro voto”— “Our voice is our vote,” said Co-Chair Campos. “We need to reach out to those who are not registered. Advocate to all voters to exercise the right to vote. We must continue to register all eligible voters.”
“I am so excited about the upcoming Forum. This reminds me of the 1905 Niagra Movement, which was a forerunner of the NAACP,” said Co-Chair Ford. “Similar to the small city of Niagra, New York, the city of Des Moines, Iowa, will have a significant effect on the political process and minorities across the nation.”
About The Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum
The Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum is an element of Urban Dreams’ non-partisan Project V.O.T.E. (Voting Opportunities Through Education). It is the nation’s only presidential forum in which all candidates have the opportunity to answer essential concerns of African-Americans and Latinos. The non-partisan event began in 1984 and has figured prominently in the Iowa caucuses. It is recognized as the oldest continuous minority forum for presidential candidates in America and one of the longest-running presidential forums in the nation.
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