State and Community Leaders in 17 States and Washington, D.C., Will Call on Congress to Pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act
Activists in dozens of cities nationwide will hold evening vigils on Tuesday, Aug. 6, to mark the 54th anniversary of the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) and to urge Congress to restore access to the ballot. The 1965 law improved voting rights and voter turnout for black, brown, Native and Asian Americans, but the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the law in its 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision.
Vigils will take place in states that in recent years have curtailed voting rights, particularly for people of color. Activists will gather in Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery, Ala.; Little Rock, Ark.; Broward County, Fla.; Raleigh, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; and Austin, Texas. In addition, vigils will be held in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.
In Texas, where strict voter ID laws have been put in place since the 2013 Shelby v. Holder decision, state and local leaders will gather with members of the community for a voting rights vigil at the historic David Chapel Baptist Church on Austin’s east side.
More than 30 state and national groups are participating or helping organize the events. These include: New Florida Majority, Franciscan Action Network, End Citizens United Action Fund, League of Women Voters, U.S. People Demanding Action, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, NextGen America, Main Street Alliance, Generation Progress, Greenpeace USA, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, ACLU of SC, Daily Kos, Progressive Turnout Project, Daily Kos, Southern Poverty Law Center, Rock the Vote, League of Conservation Voters, Civic Nebraska, Democracy 21, National Council of Jewish Women, NextGen America, National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda: In Our Own Voice, State Voices, United Church of Christ: Justice and Witness Ministries, National Council of Churches, League of Women Voters DC, Arab American Institute, National LGBTQ Taskforce, CREDO Action, the Alabama NAACP, the Alabama ACLU, the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice, the Arkansas Community Organization, the Progressive Turnout Project, Common Cause Colorado, League of Women Voters of Connecticut, ROAR, Broward Young Black Progressives, Ruth’s List Florida, Our Revolution, Women’s March Broward, Community Based Connections, League of Women Voters of the Space Coast, League of Women Voters of Ames, League of Women Voters of Ottumwa, Progressive Democrats of America, Indivisible Nebraska; Bold Nebraska, Black Votes Matter Institute of Community Engagement, Tuesdays with Tillis, the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown, League of Women Voters Oberlin Area, Oberlin NAACP, Elyria NAACP, Lorain County Urban League, Oberlin Unitarian Universalist Fellowship – Justice Group, League of Women Voters of Hays County, West Virginia Citizen Action Group and Indivisible Austin.
Earlier this year, congressional lawmakers introduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) (HR 4), which would restore the nation’s ability to prevent racial, age and ability discrimination in voting.