By Tre Ward
CHICAGO (WLS) — A continued effort to protect the voting rights of every American was the topic on Monday at the South Shore Cultural Center during a discussion titled “Combatting the Vicious Attack of Voting Rights.”
“It’s time, on Juneteenth 2022, to say that we’re going to make the vision of the ancestors. Because, when the freedmen were freed in 1865, what they wanted desperately was the right to vote,” said Transformative Justice Coalition President Barbara Arnwine.
A few dozen people came together during Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s Annual Convention, giving words to those, organizers said, are the voiceless of Black and Brown communities across the country.
“They also have been cutting early voting because that’s so important to our community because, think about it – you’re a family of ten with one car, two cars, you need time to make sure everybody can vote,” Arnwine said.
Organizers said while the Voting Rights Act became law in 1965, decades later, more needs to be done to ensure every person makes it to the ballot box.
“Most people don’t know that in 2013, the Supreme Court limited some of the most important provisions in the Voting Rights Act, and made it harder for people to actually use the act,” Arnwine said.
“There are several states that have enacted legislation that is intended to suppress the Black vote, the Brown vote, and the peoples of color vote. That’s one of the threats that’s out there, when they are closing down polling places to create long lines. And, telling folks you can’t give them water or food while waiting in these long lines,” said Transformative Justice Coalition Board Chair Darryl Jones.
They’re making sure every vote is counted and every voice is heard.
“How do we fight back? How do we win in the sense of making sure democracy belongs to the people?” Arnwine said.
If you weren’t able to make it out to this event, there are several more through the week. In fact, the convention is a five-day event, wrapping up on Wednesday.