Voting means power – the ability to help determine what’s happening in your community, and having a voice in the future of your city, state, nation, and world. That power has not always been guaranteed for all Americans – over at CIVIC U., our Voting Rights Initiatives team has been sharing this uneven history. The Long March Forward video series weaves the story of various groups’ struggles for the ballot in America – from Asian Americans to Natives, from Latinx to African Americans – and ties those hard-won battles to the voting rights advocacy of today.
In remembrance of Rep. John Lewis, who died July 17, today’s edition of The Long March Forward examines the Civil Rights Movement and the Voting Rights Act. Civic Nebraska’s Margaret Marsh and Brad Christian-Sallis delve into the history of the landmark legislation, which finally enforced the rights guaranteed by the 14th and 15th Amendments some nine decades after they were adopted.
Of course, we all know that in 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court nullified several of the Act’s central provisions in its Shelby County v. Holder ruling. On Wednesday, 48 U.S. senators sought to restore those provisions through new legislation. The lawmakers named the new bill after Lewis.
It’s a self-evident fact that the fight for voting rights is far from over. Our rights as voters are never to be taken for granted. As Brad notes in the video below, it’s important for everyone to do what they can to protect voting rights – for themselves and for their fellow Americans.
Luckily, we have a great role model to help light the way in this journey. “Everything John Lewis did in his life was about more than just him voting,” Brad says. “Once he’d secured that right, he remained involved in so many ways to drive voting rights forward.
“It shows how long-term the movement has been and will need to be, and he is an example of what level of sacrifice and commitment is needed to truly secure the right to vote.”
We all can share in that vigilance. First, stay up to date and informed on the latest voting-related laws, procedures, and legislation. Next, you can become a Voting Rights Advocate with Civic Nebraska. And third, you can help advance pro-voter information, resources, and calls to action through our free digital community at OutreachCircle.
Voting means power! In 2020, let’s do everything we can to ensure this most precious democratic right is protected and advanced.