Updated: Jan 27, 2019
Dec 13 - Essence Magazine
In our latest op-ed, Rev. Dr. William Barber, II takes a deep dive into the major problem plaguing Black communities each election cycle.
Our most fundamental constitutional right in the United States of America is the right to vote. Voting in our democracy is so sacred that people in this country have marched, faced fire hoses and police batons, and even given their lives to win and protect access to the ballot box.
However, our victories in the fight for voting rights are under attack by Republicans from the halls of Congress to statehouses across the country. Voter suppression in the United States is not dead and our generation must take up the fight to stop it.
For decades, grandfather clauses, poll taxes, and literacy tests were enacted to disenfranchise Black voters. Today, voter suppression continues to hide behind the letter of the law. My home state of North Carolina has become ground zero for the fight against voter suppression in this country.
North Carolina Republicans launched efforts to restrict voter access in 2010 with photo ID laws, but were thwarted by our Democratic governor. However, the state GOP was able to gerrymander our districts along racial lines, leading to a GOP super-majority in the legislature and eventually a Republican governorship. This triggered a series of legislation that changed the face of the North Carolina electorate.