For Immediate Release
Scott Simpson, Simpson@civilrights.org
Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds NAACP Voting Rights Act Sit-In at Chairman Goodlatte’s Office
WASHINGTON - Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in response to the NAACP’s sit-in inside House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s Roanoke, Va., office on Monday. The sit-in occurred exactly three months before the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act:
“Actions taken in Roanoke, Va., yesterday by the NAACP – including Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO; Stephen Green, national director of the youth and college division; and Brenda Hale, president of the NAACP’s Roanoke branch – were the culmination of years of inaction and broken-record rhetoric by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte. We applaud the NAACP leaders and the entire multi-generational group of advocates who joined them for their steadfast commitment to ensuring all voters are able to participate equally in our democracy.
The recycled statement released by Chairman Goodlatte in response to yesterday’s events – saying the Voting Rights Act is ‘alive and well’ and that ‘strong remedies against unconstitutional voting discrimination remain in place today’ – ignores every known fact on the status of voter discrimination in America.
It takes years of litigation and massive financial investments to strike down discriminatory laws that would have been blocked had the Supreme Court not eviscerated the VRA in 2013. For every statewide law that requires years of litigation, there are countless city, county, and school board changes to voting districts, precinct locations, and new barriers to registering and voting that will never be challenged in court.
Because Congress has failed to act for more than three years, voters of color are losing their rights to participate in elections that they’ll never get back – and part of the blame falls squarely on Chairman Goodlatte.
Chairman Goodlatte says he will continue to monitor this issue, but he has been saying that for years now while ignoring mountains of evidence in his own state, in the courts, and at ballot boxes nationwide. If he’s serious about democracy and making sure that every voter can vote, Chairman Goodlatte will take action in his committee when Congress returns in September.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society – an America as good as its ideals.
The Leadership Conference is a 501(c)(4) organization that engages in legislative advocacy. It was founded in 1950 and has coordinated national lobbying efforts on behalf of every major civil rights law since 1957.