Voting Rights: an Anniversary and a Chance to Renew

Forty-one years ago today, 600 peaceful demonstrators were brutally attacked by local and state police as they attempted to march from Selma, Alabama to the state capitol in Montgomery to protest discrimination at the ballot box. This horrific event, which is now remembered as "Bloody Sunday," ignited public sympathy and led to passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965.

As Congress prepares to consider reauthorization of this historic law, the ACLU is leading the effort to end ongoing discrimination against minority voters and ensure full participation for all Americans in our democratic process.

Beginning today, our "Every Voice. Every Vote." campaign reaches out to lawmakers and the public with an urgent call to renew the VRA.

In two new and comprehensive reports, we've documented the ACLU's legal challenges to VRA violations since 1982 and demonstrated the continuing need for the law.

//action.aclu.org/site/R?i=4FzX9UxHYkEca3B5nspW2w..

And this week we premiere the "Voting Rights" episode of The ACLU Freedom Files on CourtTV and LinkTV.

//action.aclu.org/site/R?i=oUSOTGTLs1HOSDfgwsinnQ..

The episode takes you into communities where people's voting power is diluted through the manipulation of political districts, intimidation at polls and undemocratic laws.

The right to vote is a keystone of our democracy. Although we have come a long way over the past 41 years, without the VRA, more citizens could find themselves deprived of equal access to the ballot box.

Legislation to reauthorize the VRA will be introduced in Congress during the next few weeks and some members of Congress are pushing to water down or eliminate key provisions. If you care about the right to vote, please learn more and get involved today:

1. Read the Reports. To learn about the ongoing struggle to preserve and defend the right to vote, read our reports at: //www.aclu.org/votingrights/gen/24393res20060306.html

2. Take Action! Visit //www.votingrights.org to learn more, or send a letter to your members of Congress urging them to renew the VRA. Read more and take action at: //www.votingrights.org

3. Watch the Show: Find out more about the impact of disfranchisement on people's lives in the new Freedom Files episode on CourtTV and LinkTV this week! Watch the trailer and learn how to host your own House Party, join our Producers Club and get a free DVD: //www.aclu.tv/vote

4. Watch Catherine Crier Live on Court TV. This Thursday, March 9, ACLU Legislative Counsel LaShawn Warren will discuss the Voting Rights Act this from 5:00-6:00 p.m. EST. Check your local listings for times in your area.

5. Please Tell Your Friends! Share the "Voting Rights" show with friends, family or co-workers and we'll send you a free DVD of the episode: //action.aclu.org/site/Ecard?ecard_id=2061&s_src=vremail&s_subsrc=taf

I hope you'll get involved and help us renew and restore the VRA. It is an essential tool in our democratic system.


Sincerely,

Signature

Caroline Fredrickson
Director,
Washington Legislative Office American Civil Liberties Union

--------

1965 Civil Rights Death Gets New Look

The case of the fatal shooting by a state trooper that helped inspire the march from Selma in 1965 as well as the "Bloody Sunday" protest that preceded it, will be reopened next week by a special grand jury. "There is no question about who did the shooting," said District Attorney Michael Jackson. "The question is whether this was a murder or it was something else." Jackson reopened the case at the request of constituents who felt the full story had never been told.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2006/050407O.shtml

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