A current car commercial features a young boy playing with his football when a stocky bully snatches it from him while in mid-air. When the boy demands the return of his ball, he is told to come back when he has a team to back him up. The next frames show the child driving around town, picking up his friends: a set of body-building twins, a budding wrestler and a hero saving a man from a burning building. They return to the scene of the stolen-ball crime, a rag-tag band intent on rescuing their friend’s property and his right to play. The bully then asks: “Touch or tackle?” The resounding chorus from our justice league: “Tackle.”
So too enters the American Values First and our Voting Rights Project. Across the country, misguided legislators have blocked access to the polls, battled non-existent fraud and squeezed the bounds of democracy. Bolstered by the contemptuous nullification of Section 4 of the VRA, these voting rights bullies believe they own the field. For too long, they have. Now, though, a non-partisan group of legislators gathered from the 50 states are stepping forward to declare our intent to reclaim voting rights for the masses.
Launching on August 14 from the shadows of one of the nation’s storied bastions of civil rights, a non-partisan group of legislators, civil rights leaders and activists will begin a concerted effort to restore true American values. From North Carolina to Ohio to Texas, we will promote state-based legislation, launch referenda and support policies that expand voting rights, while also working to defeat efforts that make it harder to vote. We will recognize legislators and public officials who advocate on behalf of protecting access to the polls, while exposing officials and funders who seek to reduce access to this sacred act.
As a child of Mississippi and a legislator in Georgia, I hold a profound respect for the right to vote. My parents faithfully cast ballots in almost every election, often taking us to the polls with them. They also had us stand alongside them at picket lines and protests. It was an effective lesson in the obligations of democracy – that we must work daily to preserve our freedoms.
The American Values Project has gathered a team from across country, ready to engage the enemy. Voting rights represent the foundation of American democracy. The right to vote is the strongest guarantee our country’s ability to remain competitive and relevant at home and abroad. By engaging citizens in all communities throughout our nation, the Voting Rights Project will strengthen our democracy and empower citizens nationwide to seize again what is rightfully ours. Join us. http://www.americanvaluesfirst.org