Tanisha Sullivan holds United States Representative Ayanna Pressley’s microphone as she speaks at Park Street Station. PHOTO: TAYLOR BLACKLEY
Hundreds of protesters gathered on Boston Common Saturday afternoon in support of the For the law on persons, S1 / HR1, which would thwart voter suppression and gerrymandering and limit the influence of money in politics.
The event coincided with the arrival of the Black Voters Matter Freedom Ride bus tour in the nation’s capital. Sixty years after the first Freedom Rides, where a multiracial group of activists took buses across the South to protest unconstitutional segregation, the struggle to ensure equitable access to civil rights, voting rights and freedom for all Americans. social and economic justice remains as important as always.
“It is extremely important that we do what we can, while we can, to help ensure that these votes are extended, protected and preserved – and that is why we are here today,” said Tanisha Sullivan. , Boston Chapter President. of the NAACP.
Sullivan equated the shift from S1 to preserving the core of American values ââand democracy.
Sullivan said, âVoting rights and access is not a partisan issue, but there are those who have made it a partisan issue. “
The bill was dismissed earlier the same week after Republicans in the Senate unanimously opposed the measure. However, the fight is far from over, as supporters of the For the People Act remain determined and unfazed.
U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley gave the opening speech from the steps outside the State House, supported by a crowd of supporters holding signs.
“Those in power fear the representational power and the power of the people,” Pressley said. “We have witnessed a specific, intentional and coordinated attack on our sacred right to vote by Republicans and corporate interests in Washington and in states across the country.”
Cindy Rowe, executive director of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, told The Scope that the very dignity of the country is at stake at this critical time.
âOur country must [people] the dignity of being able to register to vote, to vote and to have those ballots counted, âshe said.
Rowe used his time in front of the crowd to draw attention to the fact that many of the bills to restrict voting access will hit traditionally excluded demographics the hardest.
Other speakers at the rally called the opposition to the legislation a vestige of Jim Crow and a white supremacist attempt to deny the right to vote black, Indigenous and other voters of color, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ + community and people with limited socio-economic resources who can work multiple jobs. And as this struggle unfolds nationally, activists argue that local action is needed.
Geoff Foster, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, an organization that advocates for ethical representation in elections, called attention to the VOTES law in Massachusetts.
This measure would be an overhaul of statewide electoral reforms. It would expand in-person advance voting options, implement same-day voter registration, establish postal voting as a permanent option, and give eligible incarcerated citizens access to the ballot, among other measures to expand the access to vote.
âThe fight for democracy isn’t just in Washington, DC, it’s here in Boston,â Foster said, âlet’s roll up our sleeves and get down to business.
This article originally appeared in The Scope, a project of the Northeastern University School of Journalism.