Skip to main content Accessibility

Energizing and registering voters with Mississippi’s Got Now: Road to 60

Sixty years after Freedom Summer began in Mississippi to register Black voters, the Southern Poverty Law Center this month launched the Mississippi’s Got Now: Road to 60: Reigniting the Fight for Freedom voter engagement campaign.

This effort by the SPLC and its partners aims to register 60,000 new or inactive voters in Mississippi with the goal of increasing voter turnout by 44%. It is part of the SPLC’s bilingual voter engagement campaign in English and Spanish, The South’s Got Now | Decidimos (which means “we decide”). Overall, we hope to educate and energize young people of color in the Deep South as they build their power as changemakers in our democracy.

As part of Mississippi’s Got Now: Road to 60: Reigniting the Fight for Freedom, the SPLC will participate in partner-led voter registration drives, voter education forums, civic engagement tours and more. From Aug. 15 to 17, we will bring together organizers from across the state for a summit, where we’ll organize, strategize and train. We’ll then travel across Mississippi to work with young people to register and turn out voters on Election Day.

Our campaign will also pay homage to civil rights leaders past and present at the Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson. The campaign will also recognize these leaders at events that provide a forum for their insight and bring them together.

As we embark on this journey, I can’t help but think of how Freedom Summer 1964 in Mississippi became one of the most significant periods in civil rights history. More than 1,000 courageous people descended on the state that summer with a shared goal – to draw national attention to the violent oppression experienced by Black Mississippians trying to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

Sixty years later, that call to action still resonates.

And we’re picking up where those who came before us left off. Like Freedom Summer, this campaign brings together civic engagement partners and community stakeholders who share our commitment to building and sustaining a progressive voting ecosystem in the state. This goal is achievable. Last year, Mississippi came the closest it has been since 1999 to electing a progressive governor. That election was decided by approximately 26,619 votes.

With this campaign, I hope to see Mississippi become a focal point in the fight for equality in the Deep South – just as it did during the Civil Rights Movement. When SPLC President and CEO Margaret Huang announced the organization’s efforts to register and energize young voters across the Deep South, she declared that “change is within our grasp.” I agree.

It’s time for Mississippians to help shape a brighter future for our state by reigniting the fight for freedom and joining the Mississippi’s Got Now: Road to 60: Reigniting the Fight for Freedom campaign.

Illustration at top: Historical images from the Mississippi Freedom Summer 1964, the inspiration for the Mississippi’s Got Now: Road to 60: Reigniting the Fight for Freedom campaign. (Credit: SPLC)