Civil Rights Leaders to March to Protect Voting Rights

From NAACP’s Ben Jealous to social activist Harry Belafonte, thousands will gather Saturday in New York City to protest efforts to block the vote.

Posted: 12/09/2011 04:16 PM EST
civil rights leaders to march for voting rights

Voting rights equality advocates are taking to the streets of New York City this weekend to publically express their concerns over new legislative efforts to restrict voter rights.

 

On Saturday, Dec. 10, in an effort led by more than 150 civil rights, labor, faith-based and community organizations, thousands are expected to march against new laws restricting early voting and Sunday voting, laws requiring photo ID on election day — introducing the first financial document barrier to voting since the Jim Crow-era poll tax — and new racially-motivated bans on ex-felons.

 

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, 1199SEIU union President George Gresham, American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony Romero, National Urban League President Marc H. Morial, Rep. Charles Rangel, activist Al Sharpton and entertainer and social activist Harry Belafonte are just a few of the bold-faced names who will take part in the march leading a coalition of unions and community residents seeking to address the efforts being made to block their votes. Additionally, busloads of protestors from Maryland, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Virginia, Connecticut, Rochester, Buffalo and several other cities will join the march, ending in a rally across from the United Nations.

 

Voting rights are once again under assault. We are now facing the most aggressive, coordinated attack on voting since before the NAACP was formed over 102 years ago,” Jealous told BET.com. “[They] are the cornerstone of our democracy — that’s why the NAACP and other human rights organizations are sounding the alarm on voting rights.”

 

Earlier this week the NAACP and NAACP Legal Defense Fund released the report, Defending Democracy: Ending 21st Century Barriers to Voting Rights in America. The report examined voter suppression initiatives across the country and revealed that many new laws are being created in states with large minority populations where voter turnout has risen to unprecedented levels. The organization calls the effort unprecedented, coordinated, and targeted to disproportionately affect African-Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, students, working women, seniors and immigrants of all colors.

 

The Saturday procession will begin in midtown Manhattan at 61st street and Madison Avenue — the location of Koch Industries, a major sponsor of many efforts to block votes across the country.

 

A press conference will take place at 10:30 a.m. and the rally will kick off at 12:30 p.m.

 

For more information on the march, visit here.

 

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(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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