On September 15, the NAACP America’s Journey for Justice March came to completion in Washington DC to commemorate the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Journey began in Selma, Alabama in August and Marchers traveled through Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and into Washington, DC. The Marchers began at the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and covered over 1,000 miles, before arriving in Washington DC.
As a part of the Journey for Justice, on the day following the marchers arrival, sixteen members of Alamance NAACP Branch and friends, including four students from Elon University, traveled to Washington, DC by bus with Chapel Hill/Carboro and Northern Orange NAACP members for the Journey for Justice Rally and Lobby Day and joined NAACP members from around North Carolina and from as far away as Oregon in Washington DC.
Members and supporters came to lobby NC representatives in Congress to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act. Alamance Branch attendees visited offices of Senator Thom Tillis and Representatives Alma Adams, Virginia Foxx and Mark Walker. In their absences, advocates discussed with the respective staffs the importance of Congress passing the Voting Rights Advancement Act, as well as legislation to improve education, jobs and prison reform.
Marchers were cheered all along the Journey route with rallies, including several in North Carolina. Six Alamance NAACP members attended a rally in Wallace, SC on August 29th, to welcome the marchers as they entered North Carolina and ten members participated in the Raleigh Voting Rights Rally, in Raleigh on September 3.
Submitted by Dana N. Courtney
Why the Voting Rights Act Needs to Be Restored, Strengthened and Advanced
- The United States is experiencing a historic assault on voting rights in its scope and intensity.
- Today we see attempts to abridge the right to vote like we have not seen since the 1800’s.
- Within the two years since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act on June 25, 2013 in Shelby County v. Holder, 15 states, mostly in the South, have launched attacks on our voting rights.
- Today 21 states have implemented voter suppression laws or policies that directly target Black voters and others who historically have been denied equal justice.
- As of May 2015 there are 113 voter suppression proposals pending in 33 states.
- In NC the General Assembly passed HB 589, known as the Monster Voter Suppression Bill because it requires long-time voters to go out and get a special photo ID and it eliminates same day voter registration, straight ticket voting, reduces early voting, liquidates out-of-precinct ballots, and attacks young voters’ rights by cutting pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds. If the preclearance protections provided by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were in place, this bill most certainly would have never passed Federal preclearance.