Democracy Is Under Attack
Voter suppression has historically been used as a mechanism for perpetuating white supremacy in the United States. White supremacy is defined as, “a historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent; for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power and privilege.” White supremacy assumes a hierarchy of value of human life and places white lives at the top of the hierarchy and Black lives at the bottom. We are witnessing this form of white supremacy play out in real time right now in Kentucky.
On June 22, Kentucky held a state-wide primary election that was delayed from its original date in May because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Voters had to search hard to find a place to vote, due to the state cutting the number of polling locations from 3,700 in a normal election year to less than 200 for this primary election. The move particularly impacted Black voters, as Jefferson County, the county with the state’s largest Black population, had only one polling station. What is happening in Kentucky and other states affects all Americans, and most importantly it prevents Black Americans, LatinX Americans, and other Americans of color from having representation in Congress. This is not just happening in Kentucky. Voter suppression is on the rise and is an intentional tool for upholding white supremacy.
We must educate ourselves and act now.
Voting Rights Are Under Attack. Politicians in dozens of states have erected intentional barriers to our right to vote, including forcing discriminatory voter ID and proof-of-citizenship restrictions on eligible voters, reducing polling place hours in communities of color, cutting early voting opportunities and illegally purging voters from the rolls.
This new documentary by Robert Greenwald (Director of Outfoxed, Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price, and Making A Killing: Guns, Greed, & the NRA) weaves together personal stories from voters across the state of Georgia to paint an undeniable picture of voter suppression in the 2018 midterm election where Stacey Abrams fought to become the first Black female governor in the U.S. The issues Georgians faced included polling place closures, voter purges, missing absentee ballots, extreme wait times and a host of voter ID issues — all of which disproportionately prevented many students and people of color from casting their ballots. The documentary features experts, poll watchers and everyday Georgians speaking to the reality of voter suppression and the threat it poses in 2020. In a race that was ultimately decided by 54,723 votes, the film exposes that the basic constitutional right to vote continues to be under siege in America.
How Can We Shablam on Voter Suppression? Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness and Stacey Ambrams
Voting rights activist, author, lawyer, and politician Stacey Abrams joins Jonathan to discuss the history of voting rights in the United States, the current state of voter suppression, and how we can work toward fair voting and robust civic engagement. Abrams served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 to 2017, and as minority leader from 2011 to 2017. In 2018, she became the first Black woman to run as a major-party gubernatorial nominee in the US. She is the founder of Fair Fight, an organization that works to ensure every American has a voice in our legal system, and Fair Count, which advocates for accuracy in the 2020 Census and greater participation in civic engagement. This June marked the release of her latest book, Our Time Is Now.
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Participate in the 2020 Census. The Constitution requires the government to enumerate the number of people living in the U.S. every 10 years, and to use that data to apportion the seats in Congress among the states. The calculation is based on total resident population — which means citizens and noncitizens alike — and it generally shifts power between the states once a decade, in line with population and migration trends.
Data collected from the 2020 Census will be used to redraw congressional and state legislative seats (redistricting). This process is intended to ensure equal and proportional distribution of people in each district. In gerrymandered states like Texes, politicians pick their voters. In 2011 a panel of federal judges found that district lines in Texas discriminated against voters of color, purposefully diluting their voting strength. Even though this was considered unconstitutional, the panel ultimately ruled against imposing that federal oversight. The demand for fair and representative district lines must come from voters. Learn More
The Peace & Conciliation Project is an antiracism organization that utilizes restorative practices to engage communities in addressing the roots of structural and institutional racism. Peace is human security and the ability to live a life of dignity that is free from fear. Conciliation is the action of bringing peace and harmony to relationships and ending all strife that has historically impacted those relationships. The Project aims to right the wrongs of centuries of oppression rooted in White Colonialism by addressing the harm done to American Indians, American Descendants of Slavery, and the many groups of people who have been marginalized and oppressed since the inception of the United States.