For Immediate Release As Voting Rights Act Turns 50, Protecting and Strengthening It Should be Washington's Top Priority

Common Cause Supporting Wide Range of Commemorative Events

Posted on August 6, 2015


As America marks the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Congress and the Obama administration have a shared responsibility to pass new legislation renewing our nation’s commitment to guaranteeing every citizen easy access to the ballot.

“Protecting and strengthening voting rights should be the highest priority for Congress and the President,” said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport. “It’s unacceptable that a half-century after the Voting Rights Act removed centuries-old barriers to voting, state legislatures in much of the country are concocting new schemes targeting communities that are mostly black, elderly, or have large student populations.”

“The President has rightly sounded the alarm about today’s threats to voting rights,” Rapoport said. “The failure of congressional leaders to respond feeds into a growing sense among voters that Congress only cares about moneyed special interests, not the concerns of working families, many of whom work more than one job, making time to register and vote a challenge.”

Common Cause is urging President Obama to press for action so that the election next year to choose his successor can truly be open to every qualified citizen.

The Voting Rights Act anniversary coincides with Thursday’s first scheduled debate in Cleveland between Republican presidential hopefuls. In advance of that event, Common Cause will be delivering petitions signed by tens of thousands of Americans to Fox News, the debate host, calling on the debate moderators to press the candidates for details on their plans to protect and strengthen voting rights.

The assault on voting rights and the need for a new Voting Rights Act are among the focal points of “America’s Journey for Justice,” a 40 day, 860 mile march from Selma, Alabama to Washington D.C. that began on Saturday. Common Cause is a partner organization for the Journey and will be sponsoring several special events along the march route.

Here is a state-by-state list of VRA anniversary events being sponsored or supported by Common Cause and allied organizations. Events continue to be added to the schedule and additional information may be available at www.vrafortoday.org/events/.

 

Alabama

What: Shelby vs. Holder: Challenges to Voting Rights Today Lecture Session

When: 6 p.m., Thursday, August 6

Where: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute 520 Sixteenth Street North

Click here for more details.

 

What: Film screening – “Selma, The Bridge to the Ballot”

When: 6 p.m., Thursday, August 6

Where: Selma Community Church, Selma Avenue

Click here for more details.

 

California

What: City of Los Angeles 50th Anniversary of the 1965 VRA Resolution & Vote

When: 10 a.m., Wednesday August 5

Where: Los Angeles City Council Chambers; 200 North Spring Street

Click here for more details.

 

What: The 1965 Voting Rights Act 50th Anniversary Tribute

When: 6 p.m., Thursday August 6

Where: Holman United Methodist Church; 3320 W. Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles

Click here for more details.

 

What: Candlelight Vigil and Voter Registration Event

When: 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Thursday, August 6

Where: California State Capitol, South Steps; 10th and N Sts., Sacramento

Click here for more details.

 

What: 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, New Frontier Democratic Club Conference

When: 10 a.m. -- 5 p.m., Saturday, August 8

Where: USC Mark Taper Hall, University Park, Los Angeles

Click here for more details.

 

Delaware:

What: Press conference marking the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

When: 10 a.m., Thursday, August 6

Where: Peter Spencer Plaza, 800 N. French St., Wilmington

 

Florida:

What: Film Screening: “Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot”

When: 2 p.m., Saturday, August 8

Where:  Miami Dade Public Library; 101 Flagler Street, Miami

Click here for more details.

 

Georgia:

What: Film Screening: “Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot”

When: 7 p.m., Thursday, August 6

Where: Ebenezer Baptist Church; 101 Flagler Street, Atlanta

Click here for more details.

 

Louisiana:

What: Film Screening: “Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot”\

When: 6:30 p.m., Thursday, August 6

Where:  Christ Church Cathedral; 2919 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans

 

Maryland:

What: Unlock the Vote in Maryland Rally

When: 5:30 p.m., Thursday, August 6

Where: Starts at McKeldin Square (Pratt & Light Streets), Baltimore

Click here for more details.

 

Minnesota:

What: Annual Conference: Association of Black Journalists

When: August 5-9

Where: Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave SE, Minneapolis

Click here for more details.

 

What: Stay Restless: A Community Gathering on the Voting Rights Act 50 Years Later

When, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, August 6

Where: Harrison Neighborhood Association; 503 N. Irving Ave., Minneapolis

Click here for more details.

 

New York:

What: Rally for Voting Rights

When: 12 noon, Thursday, August 6

Where: Foley Square; Centre Street near Courthouse, Manhattan

Contact: restoretheVRA@gmail.com for more details

 

Ohio:

What: March across the Roebling Bridge: “Bridges to Cross: Building Bridges”

When: 9 a.m. until 12 noon, Saturday, August 8

Where: Roebling Bridge, Cincinnati; Program to follow at the Freedom Center, 1301 Western Avenue

Click here for more details.

 

Pennsylvania:

What: Concurrent Press Conferences in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh

When: Thursday, August 6, 2015, 11 a.m.

Where:

Philadelphia:  Independence National Historic Park, 6th & Market Sts.

                    Coordinator: Kati Sipp, PA Working Families

                    215-474-1670 or ksipp@workingfamilies.org

Harrisburg:  Capitol Rotunda, Third & State Streets, Harrisburg

                    Coordinator:  Barry Kauffman, Common Cause/PA

Pittsburgh: Freedom Corner; Crawford Street at Centre Avenue

                    Coordinator: Tim Stevens, Black Political Empowerment Project

 

Texas:

What: Press Conference on Voting Rights

When: 10 a.m., Thursday, August 6

Where: Progressive Black Baptist Convention; Hyatt Regency Hotel (Shawnee Trail Room); 300 Reunion Blvd., Dallas

Click here for flyer

 

Virginia:

What: 50th anniversary commemoration of the Voting Rights Act

When: 11 a.m., Thursday, August 6

Where: Lynchburg City Hall, Lynchburg

Click here for more information.

Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Voting and Elections

Tags: Voting Rights

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