Statement From NAACP President Derrick Johnson on Vice Presidential Debate


October 7, 2020

Contact: Olivia Lapeyrolerie

Tonight’s debate was a historic moment. This was the first time a Black Woman has ever participated in a general election debate. The candidates discussed COVID-19, social justice and the Supreme Court.  The importance of these topics cannot be overstated, as they impact every aspect on Black American’s lives – from our health to our livelihood to our right to vote.

“This debate has reinforced why this is the most consequential election of our lifetime, and we must ensure that every voice is heard and ballot counted. The current administration’s record of failed leadership is clear, Moreover, we need leadership in this country that cares about all of us – not just the privileged few. In this election, the power of the Black community will determine its outcome. That’s why it is important to know where to vote, and be prepared to help friends and neighbors overcome any obstacles or attempts to deter them from voting. We must vote like our lives depend on it.”

The NAACP has launched the “Black Voices Change Lives” campaign, an unprecedented effort to turn out Black voters who are normally left out in key states and increase Black voter turnout by at least five percent compared to the 2016 election. As part of the second phase of this campaign, seven-figure digital and radio ads are being targeted at Black voters across 29 markets, and in ten states including Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Alabama. The ad buy includes a significant investment in 17 Black-owned radio stations. This coupled with teams of thousands of volunteers making phone calls, sending text messages, sharing the “Real News” and distributing information through no-contact canvassing is designed to reach millions of Black Voters who are feeling the burden of structural racism and ineffective management of COVID-19.


Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization, and shares our commitment to equal rights.

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