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Georgetown virtual event tomorrow on voting rights to feature Sr. Anita Baird, Michael Steele

DC's Jesuit university is hosting an event highlighting the state of play concerning voting rights, as political turmoil on the topic escalates nationwide.

Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life will host a webinar tomorrow morning, January 21st, on voting rights, and speakers will include a number of prominent Black Catholics.

The event is entitled “Voter Participation and the Common Good: Political Strategies, Moral Questions, Catholic Principles”, and follows a similar event from Georgetown Law in October (which featured Black Catholics Aderson François and Marc Morial).

Tomorrow’s event will hone in on the dynamics facing the country as Democrats in Congress work to strengthen voting rights, while Republicans at the state level seek to restrict them (and usually with racial implications).

Panelists will include Sr. Anita Baird, DHM; Michael Steele, Justin Giboney; and Karen Tumulty.

Baird, a past president of the National Black Sisters’ Conference (NBSC), was the first director of the Chicago archdiocese’s Office for Racial Justice, founded in the year 2000 after a White (Catholic) terrorist attack in the city against 13-year-old Lenard Clark. She was also the office’s only director, as it was closed in 2014.

The NBSC recently issued a statement with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious on voting rights, criticizing the aforementioned moves from GOP operatives.

Steele, a former seminarian and the first Black chair of the Republican National Committee, has become more known in recent years for opposing extremism within his party—endorsing the reformist Lincoln Project, Joe Biden for president, and an investigation into the 2021 capitol terrorist attack.

He has also expressed interest in running for governor of Maryland, which will be up for grabs next Fall. (He was lieutenant governor from 2003 to 2007.)

Giboney, a Protestant attorney, served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2012 and is co-founder and president of the AND Campaign, a Christian nonprofit focusing on civic engagement. Tumulty, a Catholic, is a Washington Post columnist and former White House correspondent for Time Magazine.

Tomorrow’s event will be moderated by Initiative co-director John Carr and will begin at 11:30am CST. Registration is required for internal access, but the event will also be livestreamed on YouTube.

Of note: tomorrow is also the feast day of legendary Black Catholic martyr and voting rights activist James Chaney.

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, in priesthood formation with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).

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