More than 100 national, state, and local advocacy groups will launch a mobilization Saturday to counteract the Republican Party's systematic dismantling of the United States' democracy, calling on supporters to help fight for legislation aimed at protecting the right to vote.
At the John Lewis National Day of Action, groups including Public Citizen, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Common Cause plan to "ignite public support for restoring the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act and address one of the greatest obstacles to the passage of civil and voting rights—and one of the last vestiges of slavery—the filibuster!"
The event will include at least "100 Covid-19 safe votercades in 100 different cities" across the country—presidential-style motorcades of voters aimed at raising awareness "on the urgent need to protect our voting rights and our democracy," the organizers said.
The groups urged supporters to "get into good trouble," by participating in the action, quoting the late voting rights activist Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). Lewis was arrested dozens of times for civil disobedience before his death in 2020—notably while marching for African Americans' voting rights in Alabama in 1965.
Organizations including When We All Vote joined the call for people all over the country to participate in the day of action in their cities.
We’re excited to participate in the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Action Day on Saturday, May 8th—a national day of action to urge Congress to take action and implement much-needed voting reforms.
Find a Votercade to join near you.https://t.co/o8xAve4HaH
— When We All Vote (@WhenWeAllVote) May 6, 2021
The day of action aims to mobilize support for civil rights legislation including:
- The For the People Act (S. 1), which would set national standards to ensure all eligible voters can cast votes "without the threat of voter suppression tactics," makes voter registration automatic, protects vote-by-mail and early voting, and bolsters election security;
- The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4), which would restore parts of the Voting Rights Act that were invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, allowing states to pass voting laws that are racially discriminatory;
- The Washington, D.C. Admission Act (H.R.) 51, which would establish Washington, D.C. as a state.
Advocates also want to address the issue of the filibuster, which was used to block civil rights legislation in the Jim Crow era and which Republicans plan to use to block pro-democracy reforms in the current congressional session.
The day of action comes as Republican legislatures in states across the country are working to dismantle voting protections and suppress the right to vote. Lawmakers in 47 states have introduced 361 voter suppression bills, and at least five restrictive proposals have been signed into law, including Florida's S.B. 90, which was signed by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday.
"Together, we can build a better democracy," said organizers of the day of action.
Republished from Common Dreams (Julia Conley, staff writer) under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).