CLEVELAND -- In front of 300 people at Cleveland State University, former Warrensville Heights, Ohio Mayor and current Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) hosted an event entitled "The United States of Voting" while the Republican National Convention kicked off minutes away.
As the town hall took place, the announcement was made that another member of the Baltimore Police Department, Lt. Brian Rice, would be acquitted of all charges in the death of Freddie Gray. In that moment Rep. Fudge and two senior members of the Congressional Black Caucus were talking about the power of the vote and it's impact on African American communities.
"Politics is in everything," Rep. Fudge told the crowd of 300 in attendance for the town hall. "It's connected to the quality of the air you breathe, whether your street gets fixed, or how good your schools are or whether your child will have the opportunity to be in Head Start," Rep. Fudge told the crowd.
When asked after the session what her answer would be to a familiar complaint by Black Lives Matter activists, which is the question of "does voting matter?" Fudge, a former prosecutor, answered: "I say to them that the reason that they need to participate is so that they can be the people who are sitting on those juries. So that they can be those prosecutors. So that they can be those police officers.
Until they decide that they want to fully invest and participate in the community, they're always going to be on the short end of the stick because there's nobody there speaking for us," Fudge told NBCBLK in an interview after the town hall.
Rep. Fudge was joined by Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Jim Clyburn (D-SC) at her voting town hall which was hosted by MSNBC AMJoy host Joy Ann Reid.