Beginning today at 1:30 pm CT, there will be a recreation of the historic Selma to Montgomery March.
In 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), organized the march to demonstrate the need for a Voting Rights Bill. Prior to King's involvement the march was initially started but beaten back by state troopers on what has become known as 'Bloody Sunday'. In that march John Lewis, current Georgia Congressman, then leader of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), was almost killed. Marchers were tear gassed, trampled by horses, shocked by cattle prods and beaten by billy clubs. Clergyman James Reeb was beaten to death by a bloodthirsty mob of white terrorists.
|Rev. James Reeb|
Today, that hard won victory is threatened by state enacted, Voter ID laws purportedly designed to stop Voter ID fraud. Voter ID fraud was already a crime (at least in Texas). But in the mania to keep undocumented immigrants from posing as actual citizens, state legislatures in Texas, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Georgia among others, are requiring actual photo identification to cast ones ballot.
|Congressman John Lewis|
And, then again, there are the minute examples of Voter ID laws infractions that are used as the rationale for these laws. For instance, in Kansas, there are nearly 2 million registered voters. There have been fewer than 250 cases of voter fraud - since 1997! The state has discovered 32 voters of foreign descent. That's 32 documented AND undocumented registered voters on their rolls - out of nearly 2 million. In 2005, the Texas Attorney General spent more than $1 million to discover examples of voter ID fraud in 2005. He found none!
Yet more and more, states are citing the need for this type of legislation. Ultimately, it suppresses the vote among the poor, the elderly, college students and rural voters - voters who tend to vote Democratic.
This is the new Voter Rights challenge. It is what the 1965 March was about. It was what James Reeb, Viola Liuzzo and Jimmie Johnson died to secure. This is what March 4-9 is all about.
If you can make it, or if you are supportive of the effort, sign up here. Let Washington know that the rights of citizens cannot are not to be tampered with in an effort to secure an election outcome!