Group calls on Senators to immediately restore the Senate and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act to protect American Democracy
ATLANTA — In recognition of the one-year anniversary of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Fair Fight Action—the national voting rights organization founded by Stacey Abrams—today released a statement highlighting the urgent need for federal legislation to safeguard elections and protect the freedom to vote for all eligible Americans.
Dr. Carol Anderson joined the Fair Fight Action Board of Directors in 2021 and is a renowned author and historian who serves as the Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of African American Studies at Emory University. Anderson is an elected member of the prestigious Society of American Historians, and was named a W.E.B. Du Bois Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences.
Fair Fight Action Board Member and historian Dr. Carol Anderson issued the following statement:
“On January 6, anti-democratic conspiracy theorists infected by the Big Lie attempted to overthrow American democracy, fueled by a desire to silence the voices of voters of color and other eligible Americans they deemed unworthy of the constitutional right to vote. The deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol hurt all Americans, and exposed a deeper illness in our society that we must work together to alleviate while there is still time. The January 6 attack was no doubt a backlash to the political power demonstrated by Black and brown voters, who turned out in historic numbers to restore democratic ideals to the halls of government. The symptoms of this backlash continue to try and weaken our nation, as elections workers across the country face ongoing threats and harassment, and as anti-voter legislators introduce more than 580 anti-voter bills at the state level.
Violence like that seen on January 6 has historically been used in concert with voter suppression and election subversion to silence the voices of voters, especially voters of color. Over the past year we have seen a resurgence of these necrotic Jim Crow tactics. However, the threats against elections workers, anti-voter legislation, and election sabotage efforts we have seen in states across the country are merely symptoms of the true disease plaguing American democracy. Anti-voter politicians continue to promote and spread the Big Lie in order to silence and invalidate voters of color, portraying them as illegitimate or undeserving of American democracy. Senators must act now to restore the Senate and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. There is no alternative. No other bills currently being considered provide the necessary protections to safeguard eligible Americans’ freedom to vote and prevent election sabotage at the state level.”
Following historic levels of turnout among Black and brown voters in the 2020 general and 2021 runoff elections, rioters fueled by anti-democratic conspiracy theories stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election.
This assault on democracy is part of a clear pattern of violent voter suppression and election subversion seen throughout our history. In Georgia, 33 Black lawmakers who helped write a new state constitution guaranteeing voting rights for formerly enslaved Georgians were expelled from the state legislature after white legislators argued they had no right to hold office. In North Carolina—in the only successful coup d’état in US history—a group of white vigilantes joined forces with area militias to overthrow the newly elected biracial local government due to fear of rising Black political and economic power. In Florida, the anger at African Americans attempting to vote led to white residents lynching a prominent Black man, burning Black churches and homes, and leaving the town without any African American residents for half a century.