By Katharine Booth
On November 2nd, one day before the 2020 election, Rita Daniels (direct descendant of prolific abolitionist Harriet Tubman) and Connecticut congressman Jim Himes hosted a government rally via Zoom.
Foundation of Hope’s own board member Wayne Winston set up the conference, and as a moderator was lively and informative with the goal of getting as many people out to vote as possible. His contribution to the forum was to help focus on the importance of participation by the black community to influence the outcome of the election.
Congressman Jim Himes helped introduce Rita Daniels. Congressman Himes painted in broad strokes the topics to be covered at length in the discussion. Himes pointed out that while our country has made great progress over time, it can, unfortunately, be reversed—and this makes it all the more important for every one of us to cast our vote for the general election, as well as to keep working together to build upon and advance the strides made by pioneering figures such as Harriet Tubman.
Rita Daniels then took the (virtual) floor. The bulk of the conversation included Daniels’ perspective of Harriet Tubman’s legacy and her own experience with racial injustice and discrimination. She also spoke about how Harriet Tubman’s past serves as an inspiration and a reminder for us all to keep pushing forward to fight racial discrimination.
Daniels provided participants with multiple snapshots in time of the reality of racial discrimination (and the work to combat it) in our country. She addressed this with the historical perspective of Harriet Tubman, her own personal experiences with discrimination early on in her life, and the harsh realities of fear, intimidation and violence facing people of color today.
For her part, Rita Daniels continues the work of giving back to the community through the Harriet Tubman Learning Center, working to provide educational resources Though the center is closed today due to Covid, she’s keeping up the outreach and work, and is in the process of developing multiple new locations of the HTLC in urban areas across the country.
Daniels is determined to keep moving forward with the HTLC’s work. Daniels explained that these efforts must continue, but she cannot continue alone. This sentiment applies more broadly to the strides made by past figures such as Harriet Tubman—the work to combat racial injustice and discrimination in our country must continue, and cannot be done in isolation: it takes the cooperation of us all to make it happen.
This virtual rally, with these larger discussions of racial injustice and progress in the US, circled back time and again to the importance of getting out the vote. Both Daniels and congressman Himes urged participants to vote, and encouraged others to cast their ballot.
To learn more about Rita Daniels’ ongoing work with the Harriet Tubman Learning Center, and how you can lend your support, visit the official website: