Week in Review 4-6-2018

Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.s death on April 4, 1968. King raised the consciousness of a nation embroiled in the ugliness of segregation and racial hatred. 

While he was only 39 when he was gunned down, he did see the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. These bills were seen as major accomplishments for the civil rights movement. Unfortunately, today we still grapple with the same issues those Acts were meant to address

Racial and religious hatred still persist. There were a record number of hate crimes reported following the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Hate crimes continue to increase in 2017, according to the FBI. White supremacist groups are now recruiting on college campuses trying to further stir racial hatred. 

Voter suppression still keeps many from the voting booth. In the 2016 election, 14 states adopted laws barring people from voting. Those restrictions included cutting back early voting, limiting voter registration, and imposing strict voter ID requirements. The election outcome might have been drastically different if everyone who wanted to vote was allowed to do so. 

Recently Donald Trump announced that he wants a citizenship question added to the 2020 census. This type of question, which is unconstitutional, would limit response rates in already underrepresented communities, thereby allowing politicians to draw even more skewed and unfair legislative districts. Many see this as another form of voter suppression. 

King, along with hundreds, marched from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. They faced violence and bloodshed but endured for the right to vote. Women suffragists also faced turmoil when they fought for their right to vote. Yet, the U.S. voter turnout levels are lower than most other developed democracies

We will never realize the type of country Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned without voting. This is our only tool for change. As he said, "Voting is the foundation stone for political action." 

Every vote counts and elections matter. 

What Can You Do? 

  • Register to vote and make sure everyone you know is registered to vote
  • Become a deputy voter registrar
  • Donate to JAC; we help elect candidates that will fight for civil rights and voting rights everyone.

Sources: Common CauseAmerican ProgressWashington Post