On September 1st, NAACP branches from across the state held 17 simultaneous news conferences and letter deliveries to the local offices of their representative in the U.S. Congress demanding that they support the Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore, strengthen, and advance the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
These simultaneous letter deliveries are a part of America’s Journey For Justice, a 840 mile march from Selma, Alabama to Washington D.C. Each state along the Journey For Justice is focused on a different issue from the NAACP national advocacy agenda. Since North Carolina has become known as the national battleground for voting rights, the North Carolina leg of the march will concentrate on the most fundamental constitutional right – the right to vote.
Find local new coverage HERE.
The text of the letter follows:
Dear Congressman Mark Walker:
This year we should be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of our hard-won Crown Jewel of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s—the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Instead, we have had to put on our marching shoes, recruit and inspire our Legal Team, and go back to the battle field for Justice. The NAACP’s American Journey for Justice is now marching through North Carolina.
North Carolina was targeted by the Black Voter Suppression Movement, because our State had passed new policies that made it easier for poor and working people to vote—same day registration, early voting, and other laws to help people who have to work two jobs be able to get to the polls. The forces who want to keep poor and working people from voting slashed these new policies. And the NC NAACP and its 200 partners in the Forward Together Moral Fusion Movement fought back. National media has called North Carolina the “national battleground for voting rights.”
Our fight is not just with the extremist policies coming out of the State legislature. Five justices on the U.S. Supreme Court created the environment for the attacks on Black voters and our allies in North Carolina. Declaring there was no need for pre-clearance protections in the South, these five justices gutted Sections 4 and 5 of the VRA of 1965, and said it was up to Congress to update the Voting Rights Act despite the fact the VRA was thoroughly vetted and re-authorized for 25 more years by large bi-partisan majorities in both chambers only 9 years ago in 2006.
Now, with five justices standing for voter suppression, Congress has been afraid to act.. Its recalcitrance has allowed a vicious assault on Black voting rights that is historic in its scope and intensity. Today we see attempts to abridge the constitutional rights of the great-grand children of slaves to vote that match some of the ugly racist tricks in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
Since Shelby, 15 states, mostly in the south, have launched attacks on voting rights. If the protections provided by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (and the proposed Voting Rights Restoration Act of 2015) were in place, these attacks would have been futile and the march toward democracy for Black voters would have continued. But since pre-clearance has been gutted, southern (and a few northern) state and local governments have proven that the solid anti-Black democracy virus in our society has not been controlled. It is alive and active.
While we will continue to fight in the streets, in the courts, and at the ballot box at the State level, we are part of the mighty National NAACP. We demand that Congress get to work and fix the shambles the five justices made of our sacred Voting Rights. The NC NAACP, the Forward Together Moral Movement, our local NAACP branches, are the blood stream of the National America Journey for Justice. We demand Congress act to restore, strengthen, and advance the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015. Bring the bill to hearing. Vote for it. Release a statement pledging your support. Join the Journey for Justice now.
On September 3, 2015, at 5:00 p.m. the North Carolina leg of America’s Long Journey for Justice arrives at Governor McCrory’s office in the State Capitol in Raleigh. NAACP National President, Cornell Brooks will join us for a Rally, demanding that every North Carolinian, no matter their party or ideology, join with this effort to restore our Crown Jewel!
Tell every NC representative in the U.S. House and the Senate: North Carolina believes in a fair shake for every citizen. Stop targeting Black voters. Stop targeting Brown voters. Stop targeting youth voters. Let democracy ring, from Manteo to Murphy. From Weldon to Wilmington.
Please join us to express your solidarity with those who have committed to America’s Long Journey for Justice.