President Biden to meet with civil rights leaders at White House following Philadelphia speech

Sources tell theGrio the meeting's agenda will be all-encompassing, including the fight to protect voting rights and racial equality.

Loading the player...

Civil rights leaders are meeting with President Joe Biden on Friday for the second time since he’s been in office, sources told theGrio.

The White House meeting comes less than 24 hours after the president declared that equality and democracy are under assault in an impassioned prime-time address in Philadelphia. President Biden called out former President Donald Trump and “MAGA Republicans” who he said, “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a primetime speech at Independence National Historical Park September 1, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. President Biden spoke on “the continued battle for the Soul of the Nation.” (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In his speech, President Biden urged Americans to vote in this November’s general election to put a stop to Trump-like candidates and MAGA Republicans who are “determined to turn this country backward.” 

But as Biden champions the sacred right to vote, Americans are also voting without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for the first time since its passage, as some provisions of the landmark bill were gutted by the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Friday’s White House meeting with civil rights leaders is expected to have an all-encompassing agenda that will touch on some of the very topics Biden addressed in Thursday night’s remarks.

It will be only the second meeting between leaders and Biden since he was sworn in last January. The first meeting surpassed the allotted time with a two-and-a-half-hour discussion. Sources close to the upcoming meeting believe it will be a lively and robust discussion.  

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told theGrio during Thursday’s press briefing that the White House maintains “continued conversations with civil rights members and leaders since the beginning of this administration.” She added that the Biden-Harris administration “value[s] those relationships.”

Civil rights leader Marc Morial of the National Urban League speaks as (L-R) Melanie Campbell of the National Coalition for Black Civic Participation, Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference for Civil & Human Rights, Johnnetta B. Cole of the National Council of Negro Women, the Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network and Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund listen at a briefing outside the West Wing of the White House following a meeting with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris July 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Last week, civil rights leaders had hoped the meeting would happen before the 59th anniversary of the historic March on Washington of 1965. A source close to that attempted meeting contends that not all of the invited civil rights leaders were able to attend in person after the White House made a time change to its schedule. Leaders declined to hold the meeting virtually.

When it comes to what the president believes is the Black agenda, Jean-Pierre said, ”There’s always a long list of things to talk about, including voting rights and so many other issues that affect different communities.”

The presidential spokesperson touted the administration’s “historic legislation,” including the recent Inflation Reduction Act, which will lower prescription drug and energy costs, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that she said is “going to help many communities, including the Black community.”

Jean-Pierre also highlighted the White House’s recent student loan forgiveness program, which she said is going to “help the folks who are at the most risk.”

She continued, “We’re talking about building economic wealth. We’re talking about having that generational wealth that’s so important for brown and Black communities that they don’t have.”

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!

Loading the player...