Luxury women’s label Lafayette 148 New York hosted its “Voices of Change” Instagram Live session Tuesday evening with political analyst April Ryan, who sat down with Valerie Jarrett, author of “Finding My Voice” and former senior advisor to President Barack Obama during his time in the White House.
The women discussed the Black Lives Matter movement, how to charge forward by engaging politically and the responsibility that American citizens have during this pivotal moment in history.
Jarrett, who is a leading advisor for the Obama Foundation and has been mentioned as a potential VP pick for Joe Biden, said she is heartened by the recent activism taking place across the country as a response to racial injustice.
“I find satisfaction in seeing the younger generation taking responsibility,” she told Ryan. “People are participating. It’s a marvel and [because of the health crisis] it’s not safe to be out demonstrating and voting so it’s encouraging.”
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Pointing to her recent tweet about the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, which lasted over a year until the Supreme Court ruled that segregation on public buses was unconstitutional, Jarrett reflected on the power of perseverance.
“What we are seeing today has so many more people engaged,” she said. “[People] are feeling empowered that [their] voice makes a difference.”
Not voting has clear consequences, Jarrett said, when asked about making change. Together with Michelle Obama, she is heading the national nonpartisan organization, When We All Vote, to help lead voter education, registration and safe elections.
Another key part of the conversation revolved around the face mask debate, as many Americans continue to question the masks’ reliability and are reluctant to wear them in public.
“Segments of this country think this is a hoax,” Ryan said. “It’s unfortunate that it’s become so political.”
Jarrett added, “I just imagine if lives would have been saved if Trump wore a mask. If we had a role model in the White House in the beginning supporting masks and social distancing, I wonder the difference it would have made. I’m glad he’s wearing it now.”
She said listening to science is key and that citizens need to make the minor sacrifice to help the country get through the pandemic.