Voting Rights Day could become holiday

Published 5:03pm Saturday, August 3, 2013

In an effort to draw awareness to the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the recent Trayvon Martin v. George Zimmerman case, the National Coalition of Leaders to Save Section 5 is hosting “National Voting Rights Day” Tuesday.

Elected officials and other leaders held a news conference Friday at the Alabama State House calling for Aug. 6 to be National Voting Rights Day for the United States.

Sen. Hank Sanders reiterated the importance of this day, and why it should be recognized on a national level.

“Aug. 6 is the anniversary of the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act,” Sanders, chair of the coalition, said in a press release. “The Voting Rights Act is the most effective piece of civil rights legislation in the history of this country, and it is under great attack by the U.S. Supreme Court and many state legislatures. This is why we are asking people to do something on Aug. 6 in recommendation and recommitment to voters’ rights.”

Several events will be held in cities throughout the region to commemorate this day, including Montgomery, Mobile, Birmingham and Selma.

Selma will hold a funeral procession beginning at 3 p.m. symbolizing those who fought and died for the right to vote during the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

Jeffery Jones, organizer for the event, said the recent Trayvon Martin verdict illustrates why Section 5 is still needed, and why the nation should fight for it.

“This is a big day for Alabama, this is a big day for the United States — it’s a big day for democracy,” Jones said of Aug. 6. “It’s not hard to draw a line of similarities from what is happening now with Trayvon Martin and what happened back then.”

Following the funeral procession, coalition members and supporters will meet in Montgomery at 7:30 p.m. for a special vigil.

“I don’t think we’ll have 25,00 people like we did in 1965, but we would like to see those numbers for people to come out and support this — this is very important,” Jones said.

For more information on the day and events that will be held, call 334-262-0932.

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