In Sunday’s issue of the Chicago Tribune, famed civil rights activist Julian Bond reminded us that expanding access to the ballot for all Americans has been a critical part of our country’s history.
No one knows this better than Bond, who has spent much of his life advocating for the right to vote. In the 1960s, he was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which led sit-ins and freedom rides, marched on Washington and organized voter registration drives in states such as Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.
His generation fought poll taxes and literacy tests and secured the Voting Rights Act of 1965. These efforts made it possible for every person to participate in our democracy.
In his Tribune op-ed, Bond explains how today’s recent voter suppression laws in states across the country are a slap in the face to his generation and the Voting Rights Act. These laws particularly harm poor people, racial minorities, the elderly, students and the disabled – not much different than what Bond saw 50 years ago.
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