Why Voting Rights Activists Aren’t Giving Up

 57th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday”
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Is the push to protect voting rights dead?

Democrats’ voting rights legislation, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, was defeated in the Senate in January. A few weeks later, the Supreme Court allowed a racially gerrymandered congressional map in Alabama to take effect for the 2022 election, signaling the court’s continued willingness to gut the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Despite the repeated setbacks, activists are still working to protect and restore voters’ rights on the ground. In January, to mark the 57th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” when state troopers bludgeoned voting rights activists as they tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, thousands of activists, lawmakers, and supporters crossed the bridge to signal their dedication to the cause and all those who fought for voting rights before them.

Cliff Albright, the co-founder of Give Us the Ballot and co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund, one of the organizers of the event, told Vox that the movement for voting rights is only gaining momentum. Though Biden and Democratic leaders failed to move key legislation forward in January, the moment wasn’t all a loss, Albright said.

“This voting rights battle is happening on the same cracks in the foundation of this country that existed back then. There was never an intent that everybody be able to vote. It was always about white men with property. You had all of these restrictions on who could vote and that’s the same battle we’re fighting today,” Albright said.

Though Congress will not debate the merits of the voting rights bills anytime soon, Albright says it is up to activists to keep pressuring lawmakers as we move forward toward the midterm elections. Read more.

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