“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” -George Santayana (16 December 1863 in Madrid, Spain – 26 September 1952 in Rome, Italy) was a philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist.
On March 7, 1965, hundreds of brave unarmed nonviolent women and men dared to March for African Americans right to vote.
The fact is that less than 1% of eligible Blacks could vote or register to vote.
A group of people organized a Peaceful Protest: The March would start in Selma then move on to the state capitol in Montgomery. However, as these peaceful protesters tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge to Montgomery the police, seemingly already assuming a defensive posture; some on horses had, looking back, a predetermined tactical intervention plan against protesters. The protesters, mostly of young African Americans walked quietly and as they did so police proceeded to try and control the protesters which quickly resulted in the “excessive use of force.” As protesters continued, it became clear that the excessive force was now an active use of police brutally and acts of murder; the grotesque beating of a young black leader of nonviolent protesting #RepJohnLewis had his skull cracked open among other injuries to his body. These Montgomery officers were out to do harm as they surrounded and knocked out young protesters using their night sticks, sprayed water cannons at close range while others used tear gas. These kids had no weapons; they did NOT fight back because they were not there to fight, but showed much courage and strength in the face of absolute brutal violence by an adversarial organization minorities are expected to respect. These men in police uniform hired to protect and serve citizens were actually a force activated by the state to show physical power, discrimination and racism in all its worse forms. We must never forget that some of our fellow Americans died for our right to vote! In what was an attempt to March in peaceful disobedience quickly became an adverse harmful environment to young black and white women and men, students from all backgrounds, folks who believed voting is a right had to quickly retreat while journalists and photographers became witnesses to the suffering violence and death .
The brutal reaction by the police was not only caught on tape it forced then President Johnson, once against civil rights programs as a Senator to call on Congress for equal voting rights for all on March 15.
The Voting Act of 1965 became a law on August 6; is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.
A day that started out peacefully quickly descended into an awful ugly March of death for the right to vote called ,”Bloody Sunday”.
Now, some 50 years later, a new “Jim Crow” era has emerged with a major step backward in the fight for civil and voting rights. There are conservative states targeting not only African Americans but Senior citizens, first time voters, early voting, Students, low income, immigrants and the undocumented though Republicans call them (illegals) Dreamers;some born or brought to the US as youngsters all victims of circumstance now voting age. In addition, Governors from Republican controlled States are allowing election officials to purge voters, people without birth certificates were given limited or completely denied access to the voting booth failing to meet new voter ID regulations in time and were treated like possible (illegals). This is the 21st Century; we should be on a progressive path toward equality for all not one that will re-engage folks in the act of racism or exclusion leading to suppressing participation in the election process. In 2017, Republicans tried to pass and or enforce new, even stricter voter ID legislation or influence their districts with strange redistricting rules and regulations. While some judges … have struck down some of these bills that ultimately suppress the vote, it is clear the effort to shut people of colour out of the election process sadly continues.
We need to push back on all attempts to suppress the right to Vote.
With so much at stake, it is time to stop sitting on the sidelines. If we are going to succeed, Conservative lawmakers NEED to hear our Voices.
We cannot turn back the clock on Voting Rights or the next generation.
Thank You for Taking Action
It’s time to get to know Kris Kobach, the author of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 law—which had a range of racial profiling features and was largely gutted by the Supreme Court yesterday. Unfortunately the one portion upheld by the Court may still encourage racial profiling by Arizona police during traffic stops and other minor infractions. Codifying racial profiling is essential to Kobach’s long-term strategy of “attrition through enforcement.” But just who is Kris Kobach, and what does he really believe?
Here are the top five things you should really know about Kobach:
1. He works for a racist hate group whose stated purpose is to reduce the number of people of color in the United States. Kris Kobach is counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute—the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which the Southern Poverty Law Center labels a hate group. Kobach’s boss at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, Michael Hethmon, openly argues that the United States’ transition to a country where the majority of its citizens are people of color will lead to violence. And the founder of Federation for American Immigration Reform, John Tanton, wrote, “I‘ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority and a clear one at that.”
2. He’s a virulently antigay bigot. Kobach uses divisive politics and has grouped gays and lesbians together with pedophiles. During his 2004 run for Congress, Kobach accused the Human Rights Campaign of promoting “homosexual pedophilia” in an attempt to smear him.
3. He’s a birther. In his bid for Kansas secretary of State, Kobach raised the question of whether President Barack Obama’s short-form birth certificate was sufficient to prove his citizenship. Later, when called on it, Kobach backtracked and said that he believed in the president’s citizenship but still maintained that questioning his birth certificate was valid.
4. He’s a self-serving opportunist. When Kobach takes his anti-immigrant show on the road, he makes a pile of money representing local communities, often running up huge bills. Kobach co-wrote anti-immigrant laws across the country, from Farmer’s Branch, Texas; to Fremont, Nebraska; to Prince William County, Virginia; to Hazelton, Pennsylvania; to Valley Park, Missouri; to Arizona; and Alabama. Kobach’s efforts have netted him more than $6.6 million in legal fees. And while serving as secretary of state in Kansas, Kobach appeared on out-of-state media at least 101 times in just one year, with an astonishing 31 appearances just on Lou Dobbs’ shows.
5. He’s antidemocracy. Kobach ran for Kansas chief elections officer on a flimsy voter fraud platform. Using nonexistent cases of alleged voter fraud as an excuse, Kobach pushed a law that will disenfranchise thousands of Kansans. He claimed that his voter ID law does not suppress the vote of citizens, and especially minority citizens, when in reality the opposite is true. After getting this law passed, Kobach did not take the steps necessary to make it possible for citizens who lacked an ID to get one for free, as the law required. This is no doubt one reason that Kobach’s approval rating among Kansans is in the tank at 32 percent.
This is the man behind Arizona’s S.B. 1070. He’s an opportunist earning millions of dollars while working for a racist hate group, which gives him a platform on hate TV and radio shows to peddle his reactionary vision for America. The next time similarly anti-immigrant legislation surfaces in state legislatures across our nation, see if Kris Kobach is behind the effort. Then you will know the real intent of the proposed law.
Anh Phan is the Anti-Hate Table Manager at the Center for American Progress