Rep. John Lewis: Court Decision “A Dagger” in the Heart of Voting Access

From Representative John Lewis:

“Today, the Supreme Court stuck a dagger into the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most effective pieces of legislation Congress has passed in the last 50 years.

These men never stood in unmovable lines.  They were never denied the right to participate in the democratic process.  They were never beaten, jailed, run off their farms or fired from their jobs. No one they knew died simply trying to register to vote.  They are not the victims of gerrymandering or contemporary unjust schemes to maneuver them out of their constitutional rights.

I remember in the 1960s when people of color were the majority in the small town of Tuskegee, Alabama.  To insure that a black person would not be elected, the state gerrymandered Tuskegee Institute and the black sections of town so they fell outside the city limits.  This reminds me too much of a case  that occurred in Randolph County in my own state of Georgia, when the first black man was elected to the board of education in 2002.  The county legislature changed his district so he would not be re-elected.

I disagree with the court that the history of discrimination is somehow irrelevant today.  The record clearly demonstrates numerous attempts to impede voting rights still exist, and it does not matter that those attempts are not as “pervasive, widespread or rampant” as they were in 1965.  One instance of discrimination is too much in a democracy.

As Justice Ginsberg mentioned, it took a Bloody Sunday for Congress to finally decide to fix on-going, institutionalized discrimination that occurred for 100 years after the rights of freed slaves were nullified at the end of the Civil War.  I am deeply concerned that Congress will not have the will to fix what the Supreme Court has broken.   I call upon the members of this body to do what is right to insure free and fair access to the ballot box in this country.”

(original press release)

Because if we don’t break from the patterns of the past we’re bound to repeat them,

From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW

(N.A.H.) can’t grow without your help. If you enjoyed this post, please share a comment, and/or use any of the social media buttons below to share this post with others.

You can subscribe to the blog by entering your email address in the subscription box in my sidebar. You can also “Like” the (N.A.H.) Community Page on Facebook, or Follow me and the blog on twitter @Relando_T and @N_A_H_Blog.

Written by

I’m a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities.

“Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian” is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

Still Here? Try these...

Share Your Thoughts: Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: