On June 9, PFAW joined the Declaration For American Democracy coalition, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and other partner organizations for a virtual rally on voting rights. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Reverend Dr. William Barber II, civil rights leader and PFAW board member Dolores Huerta, and PFAW Foundation Director of African American Religious Affairs Reverend Leslie Watson Wilson were among the speakers at the virtual event.
The webinar focused on the converging set of crises facing our nation. The disproportionate health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the most recent instances of anti-Black police violence, have magnified the ongoing and overwhelming effects of systemic racism in this country. Making matters even more dire, holding a presidential election in the midst of a pandemic creates new concerns over voter suppression even further beyond the scope of what we have experienced since Shelby v. Holder, the 2013 Supreme Court decision that undid key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The speakers framed the need to address and solve these interlocking systems of oppression as a moral imperative, and said that the recent nationwide protests have created space to talk about these injustices and what we can do to combat them. In addition to protesting in the streets, we must tap into the energy of social unrest and channel the values of equality and justice into organized efforts to make lasting and meaningful change. That includes making sure people turn out to vote in November and fighting for fair and equitable access to the ballot box.
But in 2020, amidst a global pandemic, we need to do more than make sure people vote. We need to make sure people are able to vote safely. Each of the speakers reinforced how it is critically important that the Senate pass the HEROES Act and include the necessary funding to ensure election security and support voting by mail, early voting and expanding our polling places. We must ensure that we take every precaution this November, so that no one is forced to choose between their health and their vote.
You can take action to support the HEROES Act here.