Washington, DC – In response to today’s Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of Black Women’s Roundtable said, “Today’s decision by the U. S. Supreme Court to invalidate Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act is a travesty to justice for all Americans to have their voting rights protected. We believe the decision opens the flood gates for voter suppression tactics to go unchallenged in states that have historically suppressed our voting rights and the ability for minority voters to vote for their candidates of choice.”
“While many people want to say times have changed, many things remain the same. We witnessed widespread voter suppression efforts as recent as 2012,” Campbell adds. “We call on Congress to act urgently to establish a new coverage formula for Section 4 in order to ensure that the U. S. Justice Department will be able to continue enforcement of the Voting Rights Act now and for future generations.”
Campbell continues, “The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation is committed to our mission to eliminate barriers to civic participation. We urge Congress to repair and restore the Voting Rights Act now. Preventing racial voting discrimination will result in greater social and economic justice and enhance the quality of life for people of color and all Americans.”
Shelia Tyson, convener of The Alabama Coalition on Black Civic Participation, an affiliate of The National Coalition adds, “”I am deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling in this case. This is especially concerning for Birmingham residents since we are only nine weeks from municipal elections.”
“Voter suppression is alive and well in Alabama. Even in 2013, far too many Alabama voters face intimidation, prejudice, and discrimination at the polls. Strong voter protection laws are the only recourse for citizens – especially the underserved – to combat efforts to deny them from voting. The Voting Rights Act has been the soundest piece of legislation we’ve had to ensure equality at the polls.”
“This year, the City of Birmingham celebrates the 50-year anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement for racial equality and social justice. While it’s true that we’ve made huge strides since 1963; today’s ruling proves that we still have work to do,” Tyson adds.
Founded in 1976, The National Coalition (ncbcp.org) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing African American participation in civil society.