WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recently (Feb. 24), Representative Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) introduced a resolution to establish a National Voting Rights Day, on which the magnitude of the Voting Rights Act would be recognized. “Each February we celebrate Black History Month by commemorating the achievements of African Americans and their invaluable contributions to our nation’s history.
Few pieces of legislation have had a more profound effect on the African American community in this country than the Voting Rights Act. “Signed into law on Aug. 6, 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Voting Rights Act has served as our nation’s most important safe-guard against racial discrimination in our electoral system and has not only exponentially expanded the level of African American voter registration and participation, but also vastly increased the number of African American and other minority elected officials. Yet despite momentous gains, voter suppression and discrimination still exists at the polls. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Shelby County v. Holder undermines the very principals the Voting Rights Act was established to protect – the ability of all Americans to fully participate in society.” Designating Aug. 6 as National Voting Rights Day will high-light the continued significance of this legislation while also encouraging efforts to register voters and promote civic engagement. Establishing a National Voting Rights Day will cost nothing, but its existence will pay great dividends in knowledge, commitment, and voter participation.”
Joining Hastings as original co-sponsors of the resolution are Representatives (36): Mark Takai (D-HI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), John Garamendi (D-CA), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Peter Welch (D-VT), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Robert Brady (D-PA), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Sanford Bishop, Jr. (D-GA), Patrick Murphy (D-FL), Maxine Waters (D-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Andre Carson (D-IN), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Mike Honda (D-CA), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Adam Smith (D-WA), Al Green (D-TX), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Kathy Castor (D-FL).
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.