CALL-TO-ACTION: Send calls (202-224-3121) and letters
(https://www.senate.gov/general/contacting.htm) to Senators demanding passage of the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act! “This is a fight for our democracy that we must win.” Debra A. Nixon Jordan, President, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Prince George’s County Chapter See ncbwpgc.net (under Calendar-News-Gallery) for additional article on Filibuster of For the People Act.
On Wednesday, November 17, 2021, Debra Nixon, President of National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., (“NC100BW”) Prince George’s County Chapter, attended the online seminar featuring Senator Raphael Warnock, hosted by NC100BW, The Links. Inc. and Black Women’s Agenda on the Topic: For the People Act - Our Civil Rights Requires Our Attention- The call to action, awareness raising and alarm sounding on the threat to our democracy and civil right was imperative! United States Senator Raphael Warnock, started his webinar talk saying, “Democracy IS IN A 911 EMERGENCY! THERE IS AN ALL-OUT ASSAULT ON OUR RIGHT TO VOTE. They have seen our power in our turn out to vote and elect. Now there is a frontal assault on our democracy We need to pass both bills. One bill, FREEDOM TO VOTE ACT is to put the fires out, where over 465 voter suppression laws are proposed in forty-nine states and thirty passed suppression bills that limit our access to the ballot and voting. Pass also, the John Lewis Voting Rights Protection Act, for it is like having a fire department.
We must put in place protections that prevent abuses of power and suppression of our votes. It will ensure the preclearance review on actions to prevent abuse.” The Links President, Kimberly Jeffries Leonard asked, “What do you consider the most important civil right?” Senator Warnock responded, “All of them (civil rights) are important as they are interlinked. Voting rights are preservative of all other rights. It is the way we decide about issues.”
“What can we do to be more impactful with legislation?” asked Attorney General Janice Lewis Senator Raphael Warnock noted, “Find ways to build coalitions. Build cross racial and ethnic lines.” We must prepare as there are those who have targeted our democracy and it is in trouble, as there is a full assault as you saw on January 6, Efforts exist to curb union voices, trying to make it hard for students to vote, blatantly trying to suppress our vote with gerrymandering, Gwainevere Catchings Hess, President of Black Women’s Roundtable asked, “How can we help get legislation to passed to prevent police brutality. I remember the fear people had of police as a child in Georgia and that fear still exists.” Senator Raphael Warnock responded, “If you can dilute the ability for people to vote and demoralize to lose their voices in voting. Acts of civil disobedience occurred in 1999, when Amadu Diallo in Brooklyn, NY was on his own property on his porch and Amadu was shot and killed by police. 1992 Rodney King’s beating occurred.” Warnock noted, “Dr. King said in his 1963, I Have a Dream Speech, “We will not be satisfied until Black people are not the brunt of police brutality. He was talking about police brutality in 1963.
We still have not passed the George Floyd Act after watching a man have the life squeezed out of him. We must keep calling for passage.” “What resources are needed to address gender pay gaps?” asked Melanie Campbell of the Black Women’s Agenda. Senator Warnock stated, “Black women get pennies on the dollar. Often, homeownership is the bulk of wealth. Warnock introduced a bill to help with first time home buying. We also must help insure a college education and relief of college debt. College debt is now higher than credit card debt. Most of our African American community has the bulk of wealth in their homes. One way to address the issue is for some ladies on this call to run for office.
Running and using your voices in advocacy can help fix many things.” Susan Taylor of the Mentoring Project asked, “How can we as a community foster a cooperative stance on insuring our civil rights?” Senator Warnock, “Continue to lift our voices. Do not give in to cynicism and despair. Warnock noted he is only the 11th lack Senator to serve in the history of the country. We are living between our hopes and our fears. Senator Raphael Warnock, the 11th Black United States Senator, was installed in the Senate on January 5, 2021, and there was insurrection on January 6, 2021. Folks who have no vision engage in division.” Taylor went on to note, she was worried that our children do not know our (African-American) history.
How do we insure they understand this is a fight for democracy that we must win? Senator Warnock referenced the Martin Luther King Holiday push when mothers kept their children home on his birthday, and they had pop up Black history schools teaching about Dr. King and black history. We must keep teaching and talking about it as parents and in the community. Lesley Hill of Sumitra Life Insurance Company asked, “How can we be sure government officials have peoples’ best interest at heart.” Senator Warnock noted, “We have to hold our elected accountable. Even better, some of you have to run for office.” Virginia Harris, Immediate Past President of NC100BW thanked all participants and questioners and, the Honorable Senator Raphael Warnock. She noted It is critical to collaborate with the community before voting.
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