Letter: Commemorate Juneteenth by supporting voting rights | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Commemorate Juneteenth by supporting voting rights

Juneteenth celebrates the day African Americans in Texas learned of their freedom two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Recognizing Juneteenth as a national holiday brings hope for action, starting with voting rights.

When Union Gen. Granger advised Texans in 1865 that all slaves were free, he read General Order No. 3, which specified absolute equality of rights. And our country’s most fundamental right is the right to vote.

In 2021, over 380 bills in 48 states were introduced restricting voting access. Fourteen states enacted legislation impeding voting rights, many disproportionately suppressing access for minority voters. Ironically, Texas legislation is especially egregious, including directly targeting black church’s Souls to the Polls and eliminating two voting methods disproportionately used by minorities in Houston: drive-thru voting and a 24-hour early voting window.

The contrast between Juneteenth and state legislatures actively working to undermine minority voting rights is striking. Commemorate Juneteenth by contacting U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and urge Republicans to unite with Democrats and pass 2021 landmark voting rights bills — the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Democracy is strongest when we can all participate — and all of our fundamental right to vote matters.

Super thanks to everyone who stopped by Team Routt County Dems Juneteenth voter registration tent at Saturday’s Main Street Steamboat Farmers Market. You can also register to vote or update your voter registration at GoVoteColorado.gov.

Catherine Carson

Routt County Democratic Party chair

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