The Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP hosted a “Good Trouble Celebration of Rep. John Lewis’s Legacy” Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of Rep. John Lewis’s passing, joining over 150 vigils taking place around the country to celebrate his extraordinary contributions.
More than 150 community members gathered to call on Congress to pass critical legislation protecting the freedom to vote, ending gerrymandering, and getting money out of politics. The event underscored the urgency of realizing Rep. Lewis’s vision for a democracy that works for all of us.
“John Lewis’s legacy inspired us to stand up today and make ‘good trouble and some joyful noise’ in defense of our voting rights,” said Dawna Jones, President of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP. “Every generation faces challenges to our democracy. Now it’s our turn to keep on walking and keep on talking to protect our ballot box access. We call on Congress to do its part to protect our rights and to fully restore the VRA by adopting the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.”
Retired NC Court of Appeals Judge Wanda Bryant offered keynote remarks that highlighted the urgent need to press Congress to restore the VRA. She detailed the progressive weakening of voting rights protections as Supreme Court action first eliminated US Department of Justice preclearance screening of changes affecting voting rights (Sections 4 and 5 of the VRA) and earlier this month seriously undermined the protections of VRA Section Two, under which more than 60 federal cases have been brought to protect voting rights n North Carolina.
NAACP First Vice President and mistress of ceremonies Diane Robertson urged participants to continue Lewis’s work by “making good trouble.” The Raging Grannies motivated the crowd to take action with their new song, “For the People Act (John Lewis).”
Participants in the John Lewis Celebration called attention to continuing threats to our voting rights.
“Six months have passed since the failed attack on our nation and our democracy on January 6th,” Jones said. “Since that day, anti-voter laws have been passed in states all over the country. The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent rulings have made it clear that we cannot count on the court to protect our sacred right to vote. This summer, we risk seeing Congressional, legislative, and local districts redrawn yet again in a way that allows politicians to choose their voters, rather than voters choosing their representatives.”
To ensure voters can hold elected officials accountable at the ballot box, Congress must pass the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and D.C. Statehood. We can’t let anything, including the Jim Crow filibuster, stand in the way.
This event was hosted by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP in partnership with the Declaration for American Democracy, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Transformative Justice Coalition as part of the Good Trouble Vigils for Democracy, a nationwide series of more than 100 vigils honoring the legacy of Rep. John Lewis and calling on Congress to realize his vision for democracy by passing the For the People Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and DC Statehood.