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IT'S TIME TO PASS VOTING RIGHTS LEGISLATION
Democracy reform is the key that unlocks progress on all other issues, but right now, Black and Brown people’s right to vote is under attack all across the country. To protect our most sacred right to vote and uplift communities of color, Congress must pass the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and the Washington, D.C. Admission Act.
WHO WE ARE
Just Democracy is a coalition of over 30 grassroots civil rights and social justice groups from around the country calling for bold structural change to ensure our democracy works for all Americans.
Now more than ever, we must fight for bold reforms to unrig the rules of our democracy.
We are demanding reforms to pave the way for progressive change that empowers all people.
When we’re fighting to eliminate the filibuster, we’re fighting for environmental justice. When we’re advocating to add seats to the Supreme Court, we’re fighting for access to affordable health care, voting rights and reproductive justice.
When we’re pushing to pass D.C. statehood and enfranchise the over 700,000 District residents without a vote in Congress, we’re also fighting to keep guns off our streets.
And when we’re fighting to abolish the electoral college, it’s to ensure the centers of powers in America actually represent all Americans.
THE FEDERAL COURTS
President Trump and Sen. McConnell haved rammed through hundreds of ideologically extreme judges, including three originalist Supreme Court Justices who have altered the balance of the Court for generations. To rebuild a fair judiciary, it is imperative to add seats to the Supreme Court. President-Elect Biden must be able to nominate Justices who will rebalance the Court and protect the rights of Black and Brown Americans. Those new justices should add diversity that makes the Court look like the nation it serves. There should be more people of color, women, LGBTQ+ folks — and it’s high time we add a Black woman to the Court. The federal courts are supposed to be the place that protects the rights of all Americans. It’s time to reform our nation’s courts and prevent them from devolving into just another tool of economic and social oppression.
The filibuster is an old Senate rule that President Obama has called a Jim Crow relic. Historically it has been used to block progress by allowing Senators representing killing civil rights legislation.
During the civil rights era, southern segregationist Democrats used the filibuster to block laws that would have established fair housing rules, or would have made lynching a crime – which, to this day, is still not a law – along with dozens of other civil rights laws.
Even the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed after a months-long filibuster. Currently, because of the way the Senate is apportioned, just 16 percent of the population is allotted 50 percent of the representation in the Senate.
That means that senators representing just 16 percent of the population can use the filibuster to run roughshod over the will of the people.
It was not right in the 1960s and it’s not right now. Abolishing the filibuster would mean passing significant legislation on issues Americans care about like gun legislation, climate change and police violence, and so much more.
THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE
Twice in the past five presidential elections has the winner of the popular vote not become the president.
The Electoral College – a system of picking the president that arose out of a racist arrangement that counted Black enslaved people as three-fifths of a human in order to appease slaveholders – has continued to dilute the power of Black people to this day.
Black voters have overwhelmingly supported the Democratic candidate in modern elections and 58 percent of this country’s Black population lives in the South.
And yet, the electoral votes of the five states whose population is more than a quarter Black have been awarded to the Republican candidate in nearly every election for the past four decades. Finally eliminating the electoral college would ensure every vote of every American is equitably counted.
Over 700,000 residents of our nation’s capital – most of whom are Black and Brown – currently have no voting representation in Congress.
Even though they fulfill all of the responsibilities of citizens and this country’s laws are debated and written in their backyard, residents of Washington, D.C., do not have a voice in shaping those laws.
Granting statehood to Washington, D.C., would mark a major step toward achieving representative equity for this country’s Black and Brown citizens.
When D.C. becomes a state, it will be the first composed of mostly people of color: Nearly half – or 46 percent – of its residents are Black, and 11 percent are Latinx. Granting D.C. Statehood would finally mean it’s residents would get the representation in Congress that is their right.
We know that the system is rigged! For more than 200 years, America has been a democracy in name only. Many of our “democratic” structures perpetuate white supremacy. Though founded on purported ideals of freedom and equality, too many of America’s rules and institutions were designed to systematically exclude and suppress Black and Brown people. These realities are not relics of a racist past — they are present and persistent in our rules and policies. We’re seeing them in action right now.
Enter Just Democracy. We are a coalition of civil rights and social justice groups mobilizing to change the rules and unrig the system that continues to lock Black and Brown people out. We are calling for bold structural changes to our democracy, to ensure it works for all Americans.