Today marks the 56th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act, one of the most sweeping pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history. This ground-breaking measure was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 after the courageous efforts of Civil Rights leaders who marched, fought, and bled for the movement everywhere from Washington, D.C. to Selma, Alabama.
The Voting Rights Act was designed to knock down legal barriers at state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote. These barriers may seem like a distant past, but the truth is that continued progress on protecting the right to vote is more important than ever. Multiple Supreme Court decisions in the last few years have undermined essential provisions of the Voting Rights Act, and assaults on the essential democratic right to vote are being issued daily by state legislatures and third-party organizations.
Our right to vote may be constitutionally ensured, but it is far from guaranteed that we can access it without obstruction. This fight is not over. We must work harder than ever to protect our democracy — and the right of every U.S. citizen’s voice to be heard at the ballot box, even if it takes moving mountains to do it.
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