A #Selma50 Message To You
Tuesday, March 10th, 2015
— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 7, 2015
It’s been a big week for Why Tuesday? and the entire election reform movement. Saturday witnessed the bipartisan commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the events of “Bloody Sunday” when over 600 non-violent protesters were attacked by Alabama state troopers as they attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights.
It was a reminder of how far we have come but also how far we have to go, as President Obama said on Saturday:
Of course, our democracy is not the task of Congress alone, or the courts alone, or the President alone. If every new voter suppression law was struck down today, we’d still have one of the lowest voting rates among free peoples. Fifty years ago, registering to vote here in Selma and much of the South meant guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap. It meant risking your dignity, and sometimes, your life. What is our excuse today for not voting? How do we so casually discard the right for which so many fought? How do we so fully give away our power, our voice, in shaping America’s future?
While the responsibility of citizenship calls us all to the polls, our laws are making it harder and harder to participate. New restrictive voter identification requirements disproportionately hurt minorities and the elderly. And while technology has made just about everything easier — from Uber to ATM’s — our elections are stuck in the past. As we’ve said over and over again: why on earth are we still voting on Tuesdays? No. Good. Reason.
In an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune, our founding Board Member, Martin Luther King III, called for change:
I am dedicating myself to the next generation of voting rights — to fixing a problem that plagues black America and white America, that afflicts older Americans and younger Americans, that is as rampant in Blue America as in Red America — the precious right to vote.
Martin offers three immediate solutions — guaranteeing online registration, moving election day to the weekend (or expanding the voting period), and tasking the Social Security Administration to offer free identification cards as a stopgap in restrictive states. Have other ideas? Join the conversation on Facebook.
Lost in the partisan debates that circle DC, is a conversation about the most fundamental right in the world’s most famous democracy: our right to vote. It’s encouraging to see so much attention brought to it this week, and it’s on all of us to keep the debate going.
And in that spirit, Why Tuesday? is featured in a Selma promo that aired on Pivot TV recently. Watch it now!