For Immediate Release
September 21, 2021
A Year of Just Democracy: Our Fight for Bold Structural Democracy Reform Has Only Begun
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A year ago today, Just Democracy officially launched as a Black and Brown-led coalition of over 50 organizations advocating for structural democracy reform. Our grassroots coalition has tirelessly worked to unrig our democracy by advocating for issues including D.C. statehood, the elimination of the Jim Crow filibuster, passage of federal voting rights legislation, and reforms to our nation’s courts.
In the last year with the help of our members, Just Democracy has:
- Partnered with Demos and Truth and Conciliation to release a public report illuminating the racist origins of the filibuster.
- Mounted a Times Square billboard calling on Sen. Chuck Schumer to abolish the filibuster.
- Launched multiple ad campaigns –– which shifted public opinion toward filibuster elimination –– calling on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to support the removal of this Jim Crow relic.
- Substantially shifted the conversation around structural democracy reform to center the voices and needs of Black and Brown communities.
Just Democracy coalition members reflected on the past year:
“For too long, white political insiders have dominated conversations about the Congressional rules that most directly impact the lives of Black and Brown Americans, but now the collective power of Black and Brown communities can no longer be ignored. Over the past year, our coalition has ensured that Black and Brown advocates are leading the fight to reform our democracy,” said Stephany Spaulding, Coalition Member of Just Democracy and Founder of Truth and Conciliation. “We have helped empower a national movement, and people across the nation are making it clear that they believe in this fight, too. Just last month, we marched alongside tens of thousands of people demanding federal voting rights legislation and an end to the filibuster.”
“Our coalition has become a central voice in the fight for a just democracy, and I’m so proud to see the work we have done to ensure that the needs of our Black and Brown communities are centered on a national stage,” said Jamal Holtz, 51 for 51 Lead Organizer and Just Democracy Coalition Member. “We are in a pivotal moment for our democracy –– our already broken systems are crumbling under the weight of over 400 proposed voter suppression bills, and it’s imperative that we act before it’s too late. Statehood for the over 700,000 mostly Black and Brown residents of D.C., access to reproductive healthcare, and an end to undemocratic voter suppression measures all hinge on the elimination of the filibuster.”
“Our country has faced so much devastation over the past year: historic spikes in gun violence impacting Black and brown communities, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans from COVID-19, countless lives lost in our communities from police violence, and a tide of oppressive voter suppression bills targeting the most marginalized among us,” said Greg Jackson, Executive Director of the Community Justice Action Fund. “All of these challenges show how imperative structural reform is as we fight for the safety of our Black and Brown communities. Over the next year, we must continue our tenacious quest for a more just democracy and ensure that the Senate’s oppressive filibuster is dismantled once and for all.”
“Since its beginnings, our coalition has centered Black and Brown voices. We are too often told to wait our turn –– but we are sick of waiting,” said Bamby Salcedo, President and CEO of TransLatin@ Coalition. “While Republicans launched egregious attacks against the trans community and attempted to further strip the LGBTQ+ communities of our rights, our coalition created campaigns that clearly illustrated the need to overhaul our unjust systems. Now, Americans across the country are demanding that Congress reform the structures that have marginalized our communities for far too long.”
“Our political institutions don’t represent the American people, and they do not address our most basic needs,” said Aalayah Eastmond, Executive Council Member at Team Enough. “Everyday, Black and Brown communities experience gun violence and other crises created by generations of systemic racism. Time and time again, Congress has refused to end the Jim Crow filibuster and pass legislation to protect and uplift our communities –– but our coalition has moved the needle on the popularity of abolishing the filibuster. We fight for the true needs of the American people, and we will continue to fight for the just systems we deserve.”
“Since its inception, our democratic institutions have denied true equality for Black and Brown Americans,” said Shenika Carter, Founder and Executive Director of Caravan For Racial Justice. “The bills blocked by the filibuster are most often those that would support Black and Brown communities. With the filibuster still in place, Democrats have chosen to let Republicans uphold systemic racism and repeatedly deny our basic civil rights. As we fight for a more just nation over the coming year, we must continue to ensure that Black and Brown voices are centered –– even when Congress and the media have decided to move onto a new issue.”
To speak with a Just Democracy spokesperson, please email firstname.lastname@example.org