4 posts tagged john lewis
“Today it is unbelievable that there are Republican officials trying to stop some people from voting…Too many people struggled, suffered, and died to make it possible for every American to exercise their right to vote.”
-Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), one of the original 13 Freedom Riders, in his speech at the DNC.
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA): Each and every voter ID law is a real threat to voting rights in America. Make no mistake, these voter ID laws are a poll tax. I know what I saw during the 60s. I saw poll tax. And you cannot deny that these ID laws are another form of a poll tax. In an economy where people are already struggling to pay for the most basic necessities, there are too many citizens that would be unable to afford the fees and transportation costs involved in getting government issued photo Ids. Despite all the voter ID laws across the country, there’s no convincing evidence — no evidence at all — that voter fraud is a problem in our election problem.
The right to vote is precious — almost sacred — and one of the most important blessings of our democracy. Today, we must stand up and fight. The history of the right to vote in America is a history of conflict, of struggle, for that right. Many people died trying to protect that right. I was beaten and jailed because I stood up for it. For millions like me, the struggle for the right to vote is not mere history, it is experience. [ThinkProgress]
48 years ago today: the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
On August 28, 1963, over 250,000 people descended on the National Mall to advocate for social, political and economic justice for African Americans in the United States. The Freedom March is widely credited for pushing the JFK Administration and Congress to move forward on civil rights legislation.
The nine goals of the rights march:
- A comprehensive civil rights bill from the present Congress, including provisions guaranteeing access to public accommodations, adequate and integrated education, protection of the right to vote, better housing, and authority for the Attorney General to seek injunctive relief when individuals (sic) constitutional rights are violated.
- Withholding of Federal funds from all programs in which discrimination exists.
- Desegregation of all public schools in 1963.
- A reduction in Congressional seats in states where citizens are disenfranchised.
- A stronger Executive Order prohibiting discrimination in all housing programs supported by Federal Funds.
- A massive Federal Program to train and place unemployed workers.
- An increase in the minimum wage to $2 an hour. The Federal minimum covering workers in interstate industries.
- Extension of the Fair Labor Standards Act to include exempted fields of employment.
- A Federal Fair Employment Practices Act barring discrimination in all employments.
The legacy of the 1963 Freedom March centers around Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. You can view the full speech here. I also highly recommend reading Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Chairman John Lewis’s speech - now Congressman Lewis (D-Atlanta) - from the March on Washington.
Take a moment today to consider where we’ve been, where we are today, how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.
A leading civil rights leader in Congress believes the Democratic Party is losing too many white voters.
In an interview, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said Democrats need to “go all out” to win back white Southern voters before the next election.
White voters preferred Republican candidates by almost two-to-one in the midterms last year. Their support helped the GOP win 22 seats in the states that make up the Old Confederacy. The Democrats’ only pickup in the region was the New Orleans district where the party holds a registration advantage.
Since November, there have been a string of defections by Southern Democratic state lawmakers, which has prompted renewed speculation about the party’s future in the region. Former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis (D) said Democrats should even consider running as Independents if they want to succeed.
Lewis, who was a civil rights activist before being elected to Congress in 1986, said he’s concerned the party is losing its diversity, which will make it difficult to reclaim the lost seats.
“We’ve got to go all out and get white voters, especially white men, to come back to the Democratic Party,” he told The Ballot Box. “I just think it’s important for the Democratic Party to roll out and try to reveal itself and not become a party that is split along racial lines.” [read more]