Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, a defining moment in the American Civil Rights Movement and a major achievement by the many women and men who fought to make it a reality.
The Voting Rights Act is hailed as one of the most effective civil rights legislation ever enacted, protecting the fundamental right to vote for all Americans and embracing America’s diversity as our great strength found nowhere else in the world.
As we celebrate #VRA50, our fight against systemic discrimination, inequality, and impediments to voting continues today.
We have come far since the days of Jim Crow laws, the Chinese Exclusion Act, the literacy tests, the poll taxes, and the Internment Camps. Nevertheless, the safeguards for the right to vote are being chipped away piece by piece by several states enacting restrictions on voting; even the U.S. Supreme Court weakened key sections of the VRA. We need to work together to restore the VRA.
As a first generation American, I often reflect about that day when I became a U.S. citizen and registered to vote. I often reflect on the times when I helped register new citizens to vote at naturalization ceremonies alongside many activists, each of whom have stories of their own about what inspired them. I often reflect about the excitement on the faces of the new citizens as they become voters and cannot wait to cast a vote for the first time as Americans. That’s what inspired me when I first volunteered fifteen years ago and continues to inspire me to do what I do.
Let us continue working together to protect the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement and restore the Voting Rights Act.
I look forward to continue fighting alongside everyone to make sure all of our voices could be heard at the ballot box.
State Chair, Asian Pacific Islander Caucus
California Democratic Party