The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Alexander Bryden 

Color of Change Renews Demands to End the Senate's "Jim Crow" Filibuster

Racial justice organization’s new digital tool outlines racist history of the filibuster and ways to petition for its end.


Today, Color Of Change, the nation's largest online racial justice organization, released the Jim Crow Filibuster, a new website dedicated to detailing the long history of the filibuster being used to disempower and oppress Black communities. This site is a part of Color Of Change's campaign to end the filibuster, which will include digital ad buys in states where Senators have not yet committed to filibuster reform. The organization's campaign cites the filibuster as a tool to delay progress for Black people, and most recently to block urgent reforms including the For The People Act, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and other essential legislation to ensure Black voices, votes, and lives are valued.

"174 years after the filibuster was used in an attempt to establish Oregon as a slave state, every generation has seen the tool utilized to halt voting rights, civil rights, immigration reform, and other laws that enable Black people to use our political power to make change," said Scott Roberts, Senior Director, Criminal Justice + Democracy Campaigns at Color Of Change. "In the past year, Black voters overcame voter suppression tactics, misinformation, and a pandemic to ensure the election of a Democratic president and a Democratically-controlled Congress. But now, we risk losing this short window of opportunity due to a tactic that permits a single senator to silence the voices and needs of millions. It has to end. It has to end now."

From John C. Calhoun's attempt to block Oregon's designation as a "free state" without slavery in 1848, to the decades-delay in ending the poll tax, to the fact that the U.S. still does not have a federal anti-lynching law -- it is clear the filibuster has delayed progress and eroded public trust. Now, progress on racial equity, climate change, and dozens of other top priorities are threatened by a parliamentary rule stripping the majority of its power. In protest, Rep. Cori Bush and more than 90 House Democrats signed a letter urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to end the filibuster without delay.

Color Of Change has long viewed the filibuster--a relic of Jim Crow--as a threat to Black progress and has mounted several campaigns to expose the racist history of the filibuster. Earlier this year, Color Of Change launched a petition against the racist Jim Crow filibuster, which threatens critical voting rights legislation and a proposal that would grant Washington, D.C. full statehood. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson also penned an op-ed detailing the tool's racist past and its potential to block legislation on gun safety, health care, and voting rights.

Color Of Change is the nation's largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over one million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.