This weekend, people from all over this country exercised their First Amendment rights as they protested the killing of George Floyd and the countless other Black lives that have been taken at the hands of police. We saw peaceful demonstrators take to the streets demanding change. We have seen people of every race, religion, and ethnic background stand and kneel in solidarity with the Black community with the same message – Black Lives Matter.
We’ve also seen civil unrest in some places and, sadly, acts of police violence against protestors. We must not let those images derail the fight against systemic racial injustice and inequality. Speaking out is an important first step, but this moment requires more than words – it requires us to change. We must do the work of introspection and make real, lasting change within our organization.
As a democracy and voting rights organization, we must be part of the progress that is catalyzed in this moment. In the coming weeks and months, we will be supporting our partners in the civil rights community who are working on legislation and policy reforms focused on creating systemic change in our government institutions, starting with unjust policing. We have been invited to do this work, but we must remember that we come to the table as allies. We will listen to civil rights leaders spearheading this effort, and we will use our power, our talents, and our collective voices to support and amplify their work.
Now, more than ever, it’s clear that your work to inform voters and hold government accountable on the local and state level is where real potential for change lies. Tomorrow and throughout the month of June, states are still holding important primaries, delayed due to COVID-19. Voters need to know where candidates stand on the issues, how their votes will directly impact their communities in the immediate and the long term. We must also remain dedicated to our advocacy work that is focused on dismantling racism within our electoral system: People Powered Fair Maps, voting rights restoration for formerly incarcerated people, combating unfair voter purging, fighting voter ID laws and polling place closures.
We have embarked on this journey, and we will not and cannot turn back.
League of Women Voters
1730 M Street NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036