Beyoncé’s mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson, brought her fight for voting rights and safe elections to The Daily Show for an interview alongside Leigh Chapman from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
The conversation began with Trevor Noah asking Knowles-Lawson about her recent open letter to Senate leaders, urging them to pass a COVID-19 relief bill that includes significant funding for the November elections. In the letter, Knowles-Lawson speaks about people being forced to chose between “public health and a functioning democracy,” and on The Daily Show, she noted that people have contracted COVID-19 while trying to cast ballots in recent primary elections that have been plagued by long wait times.
“Why do you have to decide between the two when the government is giving funds to companies, to big business, to help them out?” Knowles-Lawson said. “And then you don’t want to spend the money to help create a safe environment for us to vote? It’s just a no-brainer, I don’t understand it.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Knowles-Lawson and Chapman addressed and dismissed concerns over the safety of vote-by-mail, but still noted there needs to be significant funding to properly process and count large swaths of absentee ballots. That funding, too, Knowles-Lawson noted, will help prevent incidents similar to what recently happened in Louisville, Kentucky, where there was just one polling place for practically the entire city.
The interview closed with Knowles-Lawson urging people to visit AndStillIVote.org to learn how to contact their senators. As it stands, there’s currently one COVID-19 relief bill that includes significant funding for the November elections (the HEROES Act) and one introduced by Senate Republicans this week (the HEALS Act) that doesn’t.
“We need to bombard [senators] phone calls,” Knowles-Lawson. “And don’t give up, just keep going, because this is so important — it’s important to all people, but especially black and brown people. There has to be a change.”