Assaults and attacks on voting rights and practices are to be the targets of a massive demonstration Dec. 10 in what organizers are calling the Stand for Freedom march in midtown Manhattan.
The rally is the spearhead of a campaign to wage a counter-assault on the drive to erode voting rights, according to its organizers who say voting rights for minorities are under siege. “This year, two-thirds of the state legislatures have introduced laws that undermine the right to vote,” says a notice about the rally on the NAACP’s web site.
Citing attacks on early voting and Sunday voting, efforts to require photo ID of all voters and bans on voting rights for ex-offenders, a coalition of civil rights, organized labor and community groups is staging a march through midtown Manhattan that will begin at the 61st Street and Madison Avenue—New York City New York offices of Koch Industries, the financial bankroll for many right-wing causes linked to efforts to suppress and block minority votes across the country, and culminate in a rally at UN headquarters.
The coalition leadership is made up of NAACP President Ben Jealous, NAACP New York State Conference President Hazel Dukes, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1199 President George Gresham, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Executive Director Anthony Romero, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, United Federation of Teachers President; National Urban League (NUL) President Marc Morial,Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.); civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton; Hispanic Federation Executive Director Lillian Rodríguez López, , and Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund Executive Director Margaret Fung.
The coalition also includes NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) President John Payton, Judith A. Browne Dianis, co-director of The Advancement Project Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights (LCCR) Executive Director Barbara R. Arnwine and Melanie Campbell of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP).
Demonstrators are being bused in from Maryland, Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y. Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Virginia, Connecticut, the organizers said.
The march comes on the heels of a joint report released by the NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which examines scores of legislative proposals, and details voter suppression initiatives, such as requiring voters to obtain and present an official photo ID in order to cast a ballot and cutting early voting and Sunday voting opportunities.
The report “Defending Democracy: Confronting Modern Barriers to Voting Rights in America” was released Dec. 5. According to the report, most of these new laws are being pushed in states with large ethnic and minority populations where voting turnout has surged.