Sacramento Bee/Inside Sources (Op-Ed): Congress must make Constitution’s promise a reality
Constitution Day honors our founding charter, as amended. It celebrates an enduring commitment to freedom and a democracy where all of us are supposed to have an equal voice in the decisions that affect our country, no matter our ZIP code, what we look like, or how much money we have in the bank.
But from its inception, the Constitution denied democracy — at times violently — to whole swaths of people: indigenous people; enslaved people; Black people; women; the unhoused; immigrants; those who do not own property — the list goes on, as does the dishonorable legacy of excluding so many for so long.
Yet with vision matched by struggle, the Constitution’s dynamism — how we understand who and what it protects — has expanded. For more than two centuries, people have worked and even died for their constitutional rights. This includes heroes like Diane Nash, who led the Freedom Riders, and civil rights litigators like Justice Thurgood Marshall. New generations of leaders today continue to labor, including in the wake of deadly police violence against Black Americans, attacks on reproductive freedom, and a gutted Voting Rights Act. And it includes the late Congressman John Lewis, who was beaten by police as he marched for the freedom to vote, and who said in his final words that “democracy is not a state. It is an act.”