Last weekend, on August 6, 2016, we marked the 51st anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. It came, almost poetically, after six federal appeals courts struck down voter suppression laws in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Kansas, Texas, Michigan and North Dakota. These were huge victories, but the fight is far from over. Just look at Missouri, where Republicans are actually trying to amend the state constitution to solidify voter suppression laws.
As we heard in Edition #1034, the 2016 presidential primary elections were a mess. We need to restore the Voting Rights Act, and perhaps even modernize it with the Voting Rights Advancement Act. But Congress has been silent.
That is why this week, NAACP National President and CEO Cornell William Brooks, and Stephen Green, national director for the NAACP Youth and College Division, lead a six hour, non-violent, sit-in with 20 activists at Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s office in Virginia which ended in arrests for trespassing. Brooks was calling on Goodlatte - who is the chair of the House Judiciary Committee - to hold hearings on voting rights legislation to combat what he called the new “multiracial, Jim Crow 2.0 voter suppression that affects young people." Goodlatte had said that he would support strengthening the VRA if current discrimination could be shown. Apparently six federal courts pointing it out in six states wasn’t enough.
In a NAACP release, Brooks said:
“With the fate of our national moral character at stake, we must hold our elected leaders responsible to act to uphold the constitutional rights guaranteed for all citizens to vote and participate in our democracy.”
You can stand with the NAACP and Cornell Brooks and demand the Voting Rights Act hearings take place by calling Congressman Goodlatte and telling him yourself. The number to reach Goodlatte’s Roanoke office is (540) 857-2672 or you can call the DC office at (202) 225-5431. One more time - Goodlatte’s Roanoke office number is (540) 857-2672 and the DC office number is (202) 225-5431. You can also tweet at Goodlatte on Twitter @RepGoodlatte with the hashtag #RestoretheVRA.
If making sure every American can take part in our democracy is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Demanding Representative Goodlatte Hold VRA Hearings via social media so that others in your network can get involved too.
We’d like to remind everyone that we’re about to have the first presidential election in 50 years without the full Voting Rights Act - and we’ve already seen a preview of what’s to come. So make fighting voter disenfranchisement part of your theory of change. Start getting involved by downloading the NAACP’s Civic Engagement toolkits at NAACP.org and help them register 300,000 voters this summer. Or get involved with other organizations fighting for voting rights like Democracy Awakening, the Brennan Center for Justice, the ACLU, Rock the Vote and FairVote.org. No matter who wins in November, as progressives we always need to be prepared to fight. Start training for the battle now and become a warrior for democracy.
Thinking abt multiracial, multiethnic, multigenerational voter suppression, means we can't do business as usual. pic.twitter.com/SnTk2gOfaT— (((Cornell Brooks))) (@CornellWBrooks) August 9, 2016
Call Rep Goodlatte - Roanoke, VA office: (540) 857-2672; DC office: (202) 225-5431
Tweet at Rep Goodlatte - @RepGoodlatte
Email Rep Goodlatte at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's What's Happening in the Battle for Voting Rights (Mother Jones)
Voting Rights and Elections (The Brennan Center for Justice)
Republicans Used to Unanimously Back the Voting Rights Act. Not Anymore. (Washington Post)
Written by BOTL Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.
Hear this segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1034: "Fighting for your right"