ATLANTA – During the Civil Rights Movement, Black leaders and allies paid the ultimate price for all Americans to earn the right to vote. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the co-founder and first leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), gave his life fighting for equal rights and educating the world about the value of the vote. He was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968.
Today, civil rights, social justice and modern-day activists of color are gathered at the headquarters of the SCLC, 320 Auburn Ave., NE, where they will lean on history and Dr. King’s legacy to drive disenfranchised voters to the polls on Tuesday for Georgia’s special election for its two U.S. Senators.
The rally and press event, which begins at 11 am ET, will draw leaders from the SCLC, The Transformative Justice Coalition, and the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda. The leaders will use their collective voices and outreach efforts to drive more than million registered voters, who have not yet voted, to cast ballots for the next senators from Georgia, which many believe can change the course of the Senate and nation.
“It is very imperative that people understand and be educated about the fact that the whole world is watching this election,” said Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., president and CEO of the SCLC. “This is an alert and call to action for those who have not yet gotten involved in these nationally significant Senate elections. Tuesday’s Senate runoff races are an essential priority for people of color and those who have been disenfranchised. We have nearly 1.5 million African Americans and other people of color who have not voted (absentee or early voting). We also have a Voting Rights Act that has been gutted, which takes us back to state rights procedures and that sets us back 50 years. These are reasons why we are rallying in front of the headquarters of Dr. King’s organization to bring about the memory of people who gave the supreme sacrifice, their lives, for Americans to have the right to vote.”
Dr. Steele’s sentiments were echoed by Barbara Arnwine, president and founder of The Transformative Justice Coalition.
“Tuesday is the last day for the outstanding1.5 million registered voters of color to participate in voting in this election,” Arnwine said. “Many have sacrificed their lives for us to have the right to vote. Please don’t let their deaths be in vain.”
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