Defend voting rights in the USA, Martin Luther King letter


This video from the USA says about itself:

Selma Interview Special

6 February 2015

Director Ava DuVernay and actor David Oyelowo take us behind the scenes of their acclaimed drama about a crucial episode in the struggle for US civil rights: Martin Luther King‘s anti-segregation march of 1965.

From Member of Congress John Conyers in the USA:

Friend,

Thank you so much for helping progressives show their strength last weekend ahead of our budget deadline. The extraordinary response proved that Americans want to see action from Congress that expands opportunity for all.

In 1963, I registered voters in Selma, Alabama, where two years later, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would lead the historic marches that led to the passage of the critical Voting Rights Act. Back then, the inequality and violence that African-Americans endured on a daily basis greatly crippled our community.

Despite the progress we have made, present injustices are often times still overt. As a result, the rights we fought so hard for are being undermined by people who have chosen to forget our history. The most recent and profound example being Congress’ failure to renew critical sections of the Voting Rights Act.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Selma marches, we must recommit to this fight. Voting rights must be restored for ALL Americans. That’s why I’m asking you to stand with me and demand voting rights for all.

Will you add your name here?

After my visit to Selma and during my first year in office, I helped pass the Voting Rights Act. My father taught me that if the door of opportunity cracked open, we must dare to open it wider and hold it wide enough for as many people to go through as possible.

And that’s what I need your help doing. Add your name to my petition demanding Congress restore voting rights and honor our history.

For jobs, justice, and peace,

John

P.S. I wanted to share something very special with you. Below is a letter from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. urging me to pass legislation ensuring African-Americans received the right to vote. This letter continues to inspire me to keep up the fight for expanding and protecting rights for all. I hope it does for you as well.

Letter from Martin Luther King Jr. to Mr. Conyers. Add your name to his petition.

EFFORTS TO RESTRICT VOTING RIGHTS STYMIED “A number of state legislatures are adjourning, and supporters of expanded access to the ballot box may be sighing in relief as they see some of the major efforts to restrict voting access were stymied during this legislative session. Then again, they may be disappointed that bills to restore voting rights to felons were squashed, or that courts haven’t yet shut down strict new voter identification requirements in Arizona, North Carolina and Texas…As the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University highlighted Wednesday, “For the third year in a row, bills to expand voters’ access to the ballot box outpace those to restrict voting, both in terms of introduction and enactment.’ Of course, as the center notes, restrictions passed since the wave that swept the GOP to power in a slew of state legislatures in 2010 have continued to limit voting rights.” [Samantha Lachman, HuffPost]

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton in a speech on Thursday called for universal, automatic voter registration, saying every citizen in the country should be automatically registered to vote when they turn 18, unless they opt-out: here.

TEXAS ID LAW RULED IN VIOLATION OF VOTING RIGHTS ACT “A federal appeals court on Wednesday found that Texas’ strict voter identification law violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in a victory for civil rights groups who had challenged the law.” [Ryan Reilly and Samantha Lachman, HuffPost]

Recent court rulings concerning attacks on the right to vote in several states—North Carolina, Wisconsin, Kansas and North Dakota—underscore the deeply anti-democratic character of “Voter ID” laws, as well as the significance of the 2013 gutting of the Voting Rights Act by the US Supreme Court: here.

27 thoughts on “Defend voting rights in the USA, Martin Luther King letter

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  7. On August 6, 1965, US President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act, which undermined voting restrictions that disenfranchised minorities and the poor, especially African Americans in the South.

    The Voting Rights Act won bipartisan congressional support as a necessary concession to the mass movement of blacks in the South and, increasingly, in the urban North, that had gathered strength from the mid-1950s on. The immediate impulse was the voting rights struggle in Selma, Alabama, in the spring of 1965, where the brutality of racist police, broadcast around the world, had enraged workers and youth across the US and exposed the Johnson administration’s claims to be fighting for “freedom” in Vietnam.

    The bill was introduced in the Senate by Mike Mansfield (D–MT) and Everett Dirksen (R–IL), and passed the upper chamber on May 26, 1965 by a margin of 77 to 19. An amended version passed the House on July 9, 1965, by a margin of 333 to 85. Almost all of the 104 senators and congressmen who voted against the bill were southern Democrats, though their opposition to racial equality had gained the support of the 1964 Republican presidential nominee, Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona.

    The US Constitution (1787) and Bill of Rights (1789) had left it to the states to determine voting requirements. Until the Civil War the franchise was restricted to white men in most southern and even northern states. The Civil War and Reconstruction resulted in the 13th, (1865) 14th (1868), and 15th (1870) amendments to the Constitution, which, respectively, outlawed slavery, guaranteed citizenship, and protected voting rights.

    However, the Northern bourgeoisie, having defeated the slave-owning southern elite, soon collaborated with the latter to secure domination of the working class. In the South this meant the evisceration of the 14th and 15th amendments through Jim Crow segregation. A panoply of rules were put in place beginning in the 1890s that effectively stripped almost all blacks, and most poor whites, of the right to vote. These included literacy tests and other subjective requirements, poll taxes, and “grandfather clauses” that stipulated that, in order to vote, an applicant’s grandfather had to have been a citizen, i.e., not a slave.

    Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act prohibited any jurisdiction from putting in place “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure [that] results in a denial or abridgement” of the right to vote. Section 5 required certain areas—including all of the Deep South—to get “preclearance” from the US Attorney General or the US District Court in Washington, DC before altering voting requirements.

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/08/03/twih-a03.html#top

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  8. Fellow progressive,

    Today marks 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. It’s the landmark achievement of the Civil Rights Movement, one that many activists were jailed, beaten and killed for supporting. And it is the most important and effective piece of civil rights legislation ever enacted by Congress, helping secure the right to vote for millions of Americans.

    Which means, unfortunately, that it is under attack. Today, we demand that Congress take immediate action to restore and protect the Voting Rights Act. Add your name to our petition.

    It’s been two years since the Supreme Court, in a close 5-4 vote, determined that portions of the VRA were unconstitutional and could no longer be used. However, the Court’s majority opinion also clearly stated that it was fully within the power of Congress to act to restore the VRA.

    Renewing and protecting the VRA used to be a bipartisan tradition. Congress even conducted a review of the VRA in 2006 and almost unanimously determined that it was still a critically necessary piece of legislation. But over the last two years Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and congressional Republicans have refused to act to restore and protect this most fundamental right for every American.

    Discrimination is still alive today and prevents millions of Americans from exercising their right to vote. I hope you’ll stand with me in calling on Congress to take immediate action and restore the Voting Rights Act.

    Thanks,

    Barbara Lee
    Member of Congress

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  9. Fellow progressive,

    Just making sure you saw this. Our petition to restore the Voting Rights Act is really taking off, and we want to make sure you’re a part of this movement.

    This month marks the 50th anniversary of this landmark legislation. But in the last few years it is increasingly under attack. In 2013 the Supreme Court declared portions of the VRA unconstitutional. And as if to prove how crucial the VRA is, the very next day states that were formerly under the VRA’s jurisdiction introduced voter ID laws, cutbacks in early voting and other restrictions that are today infringing on millions of Americans’ most basic right.

    Congress should not wait one more minute to correct these injustices. Join us in calling on Congress to take immediate action and restore the Voting Rights Act.

    Thanks,

    Barbara Lee Progressive Fund,
    Advocacy Team

    ———- Begin Forwarded Message ————

    Fellow progressive,

    Today marks 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. It’s the landmark achievement of the Civil Rights Movement, one that many activists were jailed, beaten and killed for supporting. And it is the most important and effective piece of civil rights legislation ever enacted by Congress, helping secure the right to vote for millions of Americans.

    Which means, unfortunately, that it is under attack. Today, we demand that Congress take immediate action to restore and protect the Voting Rights Act. Add your name to our petition.

    It’s been two years since the Supreme Court, in a close 5-4 vote, determined that portions of the VRA were unconstitutional and could no longer be used. However, the Court’s majority opinion also clearly stated that it was fully within the power of Congress to act to restore the VRA.

    Renewing and protecting the VRA used to be a bipartisan tradition. Congress even conducted a review of the VRA in 2006 and almost unanimously determined that it was still a critically necessary piece of legislation. But over the last two years Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and congressional Republicans have refused to act to restore and protect this most fundamental right for every American.

    I hope you’ll stand with me in calling on Congress to take immediate action and restore the Voting Rights Act.

    Thanks,

    Barbara Lee
    Member of Congress

    Like

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  15. Today, on this national day of giving, I am thinking of Rosa Parks.

    When Mrs. Parks refused to move to the back of the bus – to submit to the blatant racism that plagued African Americans’ lives – she inspired countless people to join her in protest. LDF’s legal team successfully defended her and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in court, desegregating public transportation in Montgomery and exposing inequality across the nation.

    Help LDF show those in power that we see the discriminatory intent of voter suppression – and we won’t stand for it.

    I can’t think of a better way to participate in Giving Tuesday – or to help us prepare for the difficult election year ahead.

    The concerted attack on voting rights threatens not only the 2016 presidential election cycle, but also state and local elections across the country.

    Today, 11 of the 15 states formerly covered by the Voting Rights Act have proposed or passed new voting restrictions. And 7 of the 11 states with the highest African-American turnout in 2008 have new restrictions in place.

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  20. I am writing to share a major victory for voters in Texas – and across the country: Yesterday, LDF won its hard-fought challenge to Texas’s racially discriminatory voter ID law, SB14.

    LDF and its allies have been challenging Texas’s photo ID law in federal courts since 2011. In 2014, we won in the trial court where the judge found that the voter ID law not only violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act on account of its disproportionate harm to Black and Latino voters, but that the law was enacted with the intent to discriminate. The state of Texas appealed and we won again under Section 2. Texas then brought the case before the entire Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in a hearing this May.

    Janai Nelson, LDF’s Associate Director-Counsel, brilliantly argued the case before a panel of 15 judges along with the Department of Justice and a local Texas lawyer. Yesterday, the full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the finding that Texas’s voter ID law discriminates against Black and Latino voters in violation of Section 2. The court also held that “the record… contained evidence that could support a finding of discriminatory intent” and asked the trial court to consider that claim again.

    Most importantly, as a result of these efforts, Texas’s Black and Latino voters are now entitled to temporary relief in advance of this November’s general elections to ensure full protection of their right to vote under the Voting Rights Act. This means that an estimated 600,000 registered voters and 1.2 million eligible voters will not be excluded from the polls as a result of the nation’s strictest voter ID law.

    At a time when threats to voting continue to proliferate, we celebrate this court’s detailed and categorical opinion that Texas’s discriminatory voter ID law cannot stand.

    LDF shares its victory with its co-counsel Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, the Campaign Legal Center, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, the Brennan Center, and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. We will continue to monitor voting rights laws leading up to the November elections and work aggressively across the state of Texas – and the country – to ensure that voters of color have unrestricted access to the political process and have their voices heard.

    Please make a gift now to help us protect the vote during this critical time.

    With you in struggle,

    Sherrilyn A. Ifill
    President and Director-Counsel

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