OP-ED: Our Battle to Protect Democracy’s Greatest Tool: It’s on us to honor the legacy of Representative John Lewis.

By Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Chairwoman, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee & Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL-07)

When a young John Lewis led hundreds of foot soldiers in a march over Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965, he and hundreds of non-violent protesters would be attacked with billy clubs and tear gas by Alabama state troopers and their dogs. Lewis later recalled he believed he might die there in a battle to protect the right to vote; others did give their lives in the fight for an America that lives up to the ideals upon which it was founded.

Lewis would go on to honorably serve the people of his beloved Georgia in Congress for 33 years and continue making good trouble, which led to his being arrested over 40 times in the name of equality and justice before his passing last month at 80 years old.

It’s now been 55 years since that march and the subsequent passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, signed by President Johnson just months after Bloody Sunday. There’s no doubt that hard-fought victory made our democracy stronger.

Despite its passage and the significant expansion of voting rights that followed, the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby v. Holder decision gutted key protections of the Voting Rights Act. Without federal protections against discrimination, states across the country have enacted new restrictive and discriminatory laws that target communities of color.

No longer do Black and Brown Americans have to count how many jellybeans are in a jar to register to vote, but old battles have become new again. Now, we have a president who openly rails against mail in voting in the midst of a pandemic that has claimed more than 150,000 American lives; state legislatures that are working hard to make it more difficult for Americans to vote by reducing polling places and polling hours; and secretaries of state actively purging voter rolls. Unsurprisingly, those impacted are often Black, Brown, Indigenous and young people.

Even in the darkest of times, we can hear our friend and mentor John Lewis: “Ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year. Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part.”

That’s why Democrats are urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to take up the John Robert Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020 and restore the full protections of the VRA. For more than 240 days, McConnell has refused to act on this bill to strengthen our voting laws. We urge him to match the platitudes he expressed following Congressman Lewis’ passing with action.

Democrats will not stand by. We will continue the fight for equal access to the ballot. Our efforts are even more important as people of goodwill unite and protest the injustices committed toward Black Americans.

This election cycle, Democrats have made more than a $10 million commitment to fight Republican voter suppression efforts across the country. Our aggressive voting rights litigation strategy builds on generations of civil rights work that led to many of the protections we are fighting to defend today. Our battle continues in courtrooms across America to remove roadblocks to voter registration, increase access to polling places, and to end partisan gerrymandering. We’re just getting started, but together we have won or settled suits in California, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

As our country faces all too familiar attempts to infringe on the voting rights of the American people, Democrats are uniquely positioned — with the moral track record and broad support of the American people — to take on Republican voter suppression efforts that hurt everyday people.

Your vote is your voice. We need you to use it this November to achieve real change. We need you to use it to create the beloved community John Lewis dreamed of. We need you to use it to restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And we need you to use it to achieve equality and justice for all.

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October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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