Oakland trailer pays homage to John Lewis and his franchise – Times-Herald
Around 100 people gathered outside the Oakland Arena in a voting rights caravan on Saturday morning to push for legislation to strengthen and protect voters’ rights and pay homage to the giant of Civil Rights John Lewis.
As they decorated their cars with signs such as ‘Protect Our Vote’ and ‘Make Good Problems’ in honor of the late Georgian politician, attendees listened to local leaders from the East and North Bay speak out. against the suppression of voters and call on the crowd to fight for everyone. right to vote.
The event was one of dozens across the country focusing on several Democrat-backed bills – the For The People Act, also known as S.1, and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act, or HR 4. – which aim to restore or expand the right to vote in light of the efforts of several States to restrict access to the vote.
In Georgia, a sweeping law passed earlier this year makes it harder to vote by absentees, limits the number of ballot boxes for ballots, and criminalizes giving people food or water while they are out. are lining up to vote, among a myriad of other restrictions that have galvanized conversations nationwide. on the suppression of voters.
Patrice Lyn, 46, has been following Georgia’s news closely in recent months from his home in San Jose. She and her daughter Nia, 20, met over Mother’s Day weekend to attend the trailer together, using window markers to write “VOTE” on their cars.
“I am very committed to what is going on and to having voting rights for every state, region, county, city,” said Patrice Lyn. “Everyone counts and everyone should count.”
Several speakers referred to the 2013 Supreme Court ruling Shelby County v. Holder, which gutted a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and which HR 4 seeks to reinstate. If HR 4 passes, local jurisdictions with a history of discrimination would be required to seek federal approval to change their election laws.
S.1, which will go ahead of a committee vote next week, would introduce a list of electoral and electoral reforms such as allowing those convicted of crimes to vote after serving their sentences, creating independent commissions to attract congressional districts in states that do not. t already have them, and require presidential candidates to show their tax returns.
Organizers urged attendees to call their representatives and those from other states to show their support for the bills. Queen Jackson, an organizer of Community Change Action, recalled how her small black community came together for a march in her hometown of Oroville in solidarity with the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
“It makes me really, really, really sick to my heart that we’re here again,” Jackson said. “Let’s get these things done, remove the ability of these people to suppress our vote, and realize the change that John Lewis has fought for all his life.”
Speakers also read aloud Lewis’s beloved essay “Together you can redeem the soul of our nation,” which he wrote shortly before his death last summer. The longtime representative of Georgia’s 5th Congressional District was one of 13 Freedom Riders who traveled by Greyhound bus in an interracial group to test a Supreme Court ruling banning segregation in interstate travel.
On May 9, 1961, Lewis was severely beaten at a bus terminal in South Carolina, giving added weight to the chosen date of the rally.
Paul Haifley, 35, a San Francisco resident, took an interest in John Lewis’ story and national voting rights after reading the representative’s posthumous essay last summer. A native of North Carolina, he has also seen voting rights erode in his home state, he said.
Monica West, 44, said that as a black woman who has long paid attention to voting rights, she feels tired because the current wave of electoral restrictions reflects what has happened throughout American history. . But she attended Saturday’s caravan, which briefly toured the neighborhood after the loudspeakers ended, in order to engage in the national conversation.
“It’s like, how can I talk and make some kind of a change?” West said.