In an op-ed for the Monterey Herald, labor leader, civil rights icon and People For board member Dolores Huerta sounds a warning: time is running out to defend voting rights against the onslaught of state laws designed to suppress the votes of Black and brown Americans. Huerta reflects on her decades-long friendship with the late voting rights hero John Lewis, whose struggles to secure voting rights for people of color nearly killed him as a young man.
“And that’s why it is painful, one year after John’s death, to see the efforts to erode voting rights gaining ground in this country,” she writes. “In California – and especially in Monterey County – we owe it to John’s memory to push back against this new wave of voter suppression.” Monterey County back in the 1970s became one of only three California counties covered by the preclearance requirement of the original Voting Rights Act, due to its voting regulations that discriminated against voters of color.
It was encouraging to hear President Biden speak out in favor of federal voting rights legislation this month. And now we must say to the president: we demand that you use all your influence and all your leadership for this cause. Make voting rights your top priority, and if the filibuster must go so voting rights can pass, say so clearly.
Fighting for voting rights now is the most important thing we can do to honor John Lewis on the anniversary of his passing. And John and I always knew that when we fight, we win.
She adds that Washington must act now, as every day brings more efforts by Republican-led states to undermine voting rights.