Today, June 25, marks the 7th anniversary of the Shelby County v. Holder case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court found that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional. As we continue conversations surrounding voter suppression, especially given the issues surrounding the recent Democratic primary election in Kentucky, it is time to take action on all levels.
As such, Beyoncé Knowles Carter, Tina Knowles-Lawson, Mothers of the Movement and several Black women celebrities are urging the Senate to pass H.R. 6800, commonly referred to as The HEROES Act. As stated in a press release obtained by The Root, “Over the past seven years, states and localities have reverted to discriminatory practices that restrict the voting rights of Black, Brown, Native, and Asian American people and have put up unnecessary roadblocks to the ballot.”
The HEROES Act will include $3.6 billion in funding for state administration of federal elections.
“Fall-out from the most recent primaries makes it abundantly clear that we must act now to ensure every citizen can freely and fairly vote in the upcoming general election, and chaos at polling places in recent primaries has demonstrated that elections officials are unprepared to hold safe and accessible elections this year,” the letter addressed to Senate Majority and Minority Leaders reads.
“This is modern-day voter suppression plain and simple,” the letter continues. “Voters in all these states risked their health, and that of their communities, simply to make their voices heard. People should be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote and stay healthy, even during a pandemic. We should not have to choose between public health and a functioning democracy.”
The letter is signed by Tina Knowles-Lawson, Viola Davis, Whoopi Goldberg, Octavia Spencer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Beyoncé Knowles Carter, Solange Knowles, Gabrielle Union, Taraji P. Henson, Kelly Rowland, Lala Anthony, Halle Berry, Yvette Nicole Brown, Melina Matsoukas, Janelle Monáe, Bozoma Saint John, Holly Robinson Peete, Oge Egbuonu, Lena Waithe, Kerry Washington, Rashida Jones, Gwenn Carr (mother of Eric Garner), Kadiatou Diallo (mother of Amadou Diallo), Sybrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin) Maria Hamilton (mother of Dontre Hamilton) Wanda Johnson (mother of Oscar Grant), Rep. Lucy McBath (mother of Jordan Davis), Tamika Palmer (mother of Breonna Taylor) and Geneva Reed-Veal (mother of Sandra Bland).
Of course, the work doesn’t stop here. The organizers are also urging the public to sign a petition, launched by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and All Voting is Local, with its joint And Still I Vote campaign, to show support for enacting the HEROES Act.
To read the full letter and obtain more information about Mothers of the Movement, head to AndIStillVote.org.