The disappointing 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby v. Holder overturned key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that was passed in the aftermath of the historic Selma-to-Montgomery march. Following that 2013 ruling, voter suppression laws have proliferated across 22 states with more in the works. We must not stand by while the right to vote is taken away.
On July 13 a federal court in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, will hear arguments in N.C. NAACP v. McCrory, a case challenging that state’s recently enacted voter suppression laws. Outside the courthouse on that day, the Rev. Dr. William Barber, II, leader of the North Carolina NAACP’s Forward Together Moral Monday Movement, will lead a march and rally. Rev. Barber has invited me to share this stage with him, and I accepted without hesitation. I feel strongly that we Unitarian Universalists are called to stand with Rev. Barber in support of the right to vote.
Will you join me for this historic event? Learn more and RSVP.
People from across the country – including many Unitarian Universalists – will gather in Winston-Salem for a day of teach-ins and activities to learn what they can do to build a powerful voting rights coalition in their own states. We need a national movement to oppose voter suppression laws that implement new voter ID requirements and onerous voter-registration drive restrictions. North Carolina’s law, for example, eliminates pre-registration of 16 and 17 year olds, disenfranchising many young voters.
Make no mistake about it: these laws are aimed at suppressing the votes of young people and people of color. Rev. Barber calls this a “full-on assault on the voting rights of minorities.” I completely agree with him, and that is why I am going to Winston-Salem to stand with him on this issue. What happens in North Carolina will have an impact on the entire nation.
This past March, during the 50th Anniversary events in Selma, we gave our Courageous Love Award to the families of Jimmie Lee Jackson, the Rev. James Reeb, and Viola Liuzzo. We pledged to honor their memories by recommitting ourselves to the cause of voting rights, the cause for which they sacrificed their lives.
Together, let us honor that pledge. In 1965, Unitarian Universalists responded to the call from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to go to Selma. Today what Dr. King called “the fierce urgency of now” calls us to Winston-Salem on July 13. Please join me and the Rev. Dr. William Barber, II, in this struggle for democracy.
Rev. Peter Morales
President, Unitarian Universalist Association
P. S. Even if you cannot make it to Winston-Salem on July 13, you can support the UUA’s work for voting rights and racial justice organizing by donating to the James Reeb Fund. Thank you for your generosity.