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Voter suppression tactics across the South have always been an issue, but in the last few years, state legislators across the region have ramped up their efforts to further suppress voters of color, people with disabilities and elderly folks. 

Alabama Values, partnering with The Southern Leadership for Voter Engagement (SOLVE) , Spotlight PR and Groundwork Project, will bring together voting rights advocates, policy experts, grassroots organizers and litigators who deal with voting rights issues in a briefing under their Democracy Under Attack initiative in an event titled “Empower the Vote: Unmasking Voter Suppression.”

This live event is set for Monday, May 22 at 6 p.m. CST. Register at tinyurl.com/DemocracyUnderAttack2023

“By uniting voices, sharing knowledge and taking collective action, we can ensure that every eligible voter can exercise their democratic right without barriers or hindrances,” said Jordan Davis, interim networks director for voting rights at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

The event aims to educate and engage community members about the harmful impact of such laws on democratic participation and to galvanize support for protecting the fundamental right to vote. State legislatures have used tactics such as stricter voter ID laws, gerrymandering, reducing early voting opportunities, purging voter rolls, and closing polling places in predominantly Black neighborhoods. 

The event will be moderated by former Congressman Joe Kennedy III, who is the founder of the Groundwork Project, who advocates for a more responsive and representative democracy that can deliver justice, equity, and opportunity for all.

Speakers include: 

  • Dillon Nettles, policy and advocacy director at ACLU-Alabama
  • Charles Taylor Jr., executive director of the Mississippi State Conference of NAACP
  • Yael Bromberg, Esq., a national leading scholar of the 26th Amendment, special counsel and strategic advisor for The Andrew Goodman Foundation and principal of Bromberg Law LLC;
  • Kiana Jackson, research and coalition organizing manager at New Disabled South
  • Jamal Watkins, senior vice president of strategy and advancement for NAACP

 “We hope this event highlights the coordinated attacks being launched on voting rights. By bringing together this dynamic panel of experts we hope to emphasize the urgent need to address attacks on voting rights through the collaborative lens of community organizers, lawyers, policy advocates, and directly impacted communities,” said Anneshia Hardy, executive director of Alabama Values. “The ongoing challenges to voting rights require a multifaceted approach that integrates different perspectives and expertise. We hope that people leave the event thinking about ways to get involved in the efforts to combat attacks on voting rights. By embracing our collective power, we can work towards an inclusive and robust democratic system that upholds the principles of equality, justice, and fair representation.”

During the event, speakers will provide valuable insights into the far-reaching consequences of voter suppression legislation, will highlight the potential disenfranchisement of marginalized communities, the undermining of democratic principles and the erosion of voting rights that many fought and died to secure.  

“Across the nation, we are seeing a wave of orchestrated anti-democracy efforts that threaten human rights and the rule of law,” Bromberg said. “Young voters have always offered the tenacity and clarity to right these wrongs, from the nation’s founding, through the First and Second Reconstructions, and today. The removal of youth voter obstacles, and the expansion of youth voting opportunities, is as American as apple pie, and will help provide the fortitude that this nation needs through its ebbs and flows of moral courage.”

Through thought-provoking discussions, attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the historical context and current challenges surrounding voter suppression and become equipped with knowledge and resources to empower them to protect their voting rights. 

“As it has been for generations, the South is on the frontlines of democracy protection today. Local organizers and leaders don’t need outsiders coming in and telling them how to respond, they need support to deepen and amplify the work they’re already doing – which is why Groundwork is so proud to be a part of Democracy Under Attack,” said Emily Kaufman, executive director of Groundwork Project. 

To register for the event, visit www.tinyurl.com/DemocracyUnderAttack2023

 

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