BLACK VOTING RIGHTS UNDER ATTACK!
Sunday, August 6th, marked the 52nd anniversary of the enacting of the Voting Rights Act. In observation of that incredible milestone, the People’s Organization for Progress (P.O.P.) hosted a press conference on Friday, August 4th, at the new Martin Luther King Memorial in Newark, to condemn the recently convened Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity as a vehicle to undermine African-American voting rights!
Led by P.O.P. chairman Lawrence Hamm, participants included Deborah Smith-Gregory, chair of the Newark chapter of the NAACP, Orange Councilwoman Donna K. Williams, and educator-activist Akili Buchanan.
Headed by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, critics believe that this commission will be used to expand voter purge practices that have wrongly eliminated millions of voters, predominantly Black and Brown voters, from voting rolls since the Shelby v. Alabama Supreme Court decision of 2013 which weakened the pre-clearance enforcement provision of the Voting Rights Act.
As a consequence, states like Indiana and Kansas began voter purges through the dubious ‘crosschecking’ method, poll closure and other related methods resulted in 7.2 million voters getting knocked off voting rolls and not being allowed to vote in the 2016 election.
Even with that large voter purge, a “monstrous affront” to the Voting Rights legacy, Trump still lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. Serious observers see the commission’s work as the “nationalizing” of a voter purge that had been previously been done by Republican controlled states to insure that he does not lose the popular vote in 2020 and that Republicans do not lose Congress in 2018.
“No one should be mistaken that the only purpose of this Voter Fraud Commission is to in fact be another weapon in the arsenal of Black voter suppression,” warned Hamm passionately.
Smith-Gregory informed everyone that the NAACP is fully committed to opposing the operation of the new commission and that they are taking legal action against in the states of Texas, Indiana and Utah.
Angrily characterizing the Trump Administration and the Republican controlled as “racist” and “fascist,” calling Trump’s electoral college victory a “sham” and decrying Congressional gerrymandering and other voter suppression efforts as “rigging the system,” Akili Buchanan channeled his former leader, the legendary Amiri Baraka by reading Baraka’s mobilization poem ‘SOS-Calling All Black People’ and then declared the Commission an attack on the popular vote.
“The enemies of Democracy continue to work in shifts, 24/7, 365 days a year,” he warned.
“It is a continuation of the racist attempts at dismantling the legitimacy of the popular vote, stemming the tide of Black and Brown participation in the voter process,” he asserted.
Councilwoman Williams challenged everyone to “stay engaged” at the local level while being watchful at the national level.
She then related how her community’s bid to move their local Board of Education from an appointed board to an elected one by a citywide election was overturned by a judge as a local form of judicial voter suppression or the undermining of the popular vote.
Press officer Zayid Muhammad questioned the sparse coverage of the issue in Mainstream Media.
“While the government and the press are investigating impeachable illegalities of Trump and his Russian connection and Trump and his finances, we ask why isn’t there a similar investigation in mainstream media circles into the Voter Suppression that investigative reporter Greg Palast has thoroughly uncovered and exposed that saw Black and Brown voters enduring voter suppression to the tune of millions.
“It looks like Black lives don’t matter here on this one either.
“We are therefore going to have to create the kind of groundswell through massive protest to make our lives matter, to force them to cover how and why so many votes were suppressed and how this con game of an Integrity Commission is nothing more than the ‘nationalization’ of what they’ve already been doing since the Shelby case.
“Trump, Pence, Korbach, they are the voter fraud through voter suppression.
“That’s the story still waiting to be told,” he insisted.
As this goes to press, some 44 states have refused to cooperate with the new commission’s requests for voter roll information in whole or in part because of its conflict with many of those states’ own laws in place to protect the voters’ privacy with New Jersey being one.
Participants challenged everyone to get ready to make sure that New Jersey continues to do so…
SOS by Amiri Baraka
Calling black people
Calling all black people, man woman child
Wherever you are, calling you, urgent, come in
Black People, come in, wherever you are, urgent, calling
You, calling all black people
Calling all black people, come in, black people, come