Lectures spotlight ongoing battles

Published 10:24 pm Friday, March 5, 2010

The right to vote is denied people now.

Take, for example, convicted felons. And as experts have shown, many are African-Americans.

Or, as co-cordinator of Bridge Crossing Jubilee Sam Walker put it, “To stop and recognize the progress that has been made, but it is also a time to recommit to work to make things right.”

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To show that recommitment, lectures were held Friday at Wallace Community College by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People that brought recognition to battles that are still taking place.

Dale E. Ho, an Assistant Counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, gave one of those lectures.

Ho spoke about the disfranchisement of the voting rights of convicted felons.

Felony disfranchisement was enacted in the 19th century, and is the practice of stripping the right to vote from convicted criminals.

“It was part of a concerted effort to keep African-Americans the right to vote after the civil war,” said Ho.

According to Ho, nearly 5.3 million Americans are affected by felony disfranchisement.

After the presentation by Mr. Ho, those in attendance were able to ask representatives from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund questions about what has been done to improve the condition of felon disfranchisement, a couple of whom had questions on why it has taken so long.

“Litigation takes very a long time,” said Assistant Counsel Ryan Haygood. “While lawyers can expand the franchise, it is up to people to empower the franchise.”