In Memory of John Lewis, Activists Push for Voting Rights

Protestors gathered at the Minnesota state capitol Saturday to remember civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis on
the one-year anniversary of his death. It was part of a nationwide action supporting federal voting rights legislation. 

Feven Gerezgiher reports: 

 

A small group of protestors gathered at the Minnesota state capitol Saturday to remember civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis on the one-year anniversary of his death. It was part of a nationwide action supporting federal voting rights legislation.

 

High school student Eileen Carter, who came from southwest Minnesota to attend, said she believes in equality. 

 

“The idea of taking away somebody’s right to vote and restricting somebody’s right to vote takes [away] the equality of the people in this country,” she said. 

 

Two bills are currently stalled in Congress that would improve voting rights. Before his death, John Lewis helped draft the “For the People Act” which, in addition to automatic voter registration and expanded access to early voting, includes sweeping elections reform.

 

Voting rights advocates were alarmed by a  Supreme Court ruling earlier this month , which undermined key components in the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

 

Though the act has had bipartisan support for decades, lawmakers have introduced close to 400 bills over the last year attempting to restrict voter access.

 

Annastacia Belladonna-Carrera is with Common Cause Minnesota, which organized the local protest and is one of several organizations petitioning the MN Supreme Court. They filed a suit Thursday to ensure BIPOC voices are represented in the state redistricting process this year.

 

“For far too long, Black, indigenous, and Minnesotans of color have had their political vote diluted in the redistricting process,” said Belladonna-Carrera. “As a result, many do not benefit from equitable electoral power or a fair opportunity to elect candidates with shared interest.”

 

State legislators will draw and debate district maps starting in September when they receive detailed 2020 Census counts.

Photograph by Robin Tzannes

 

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