Black Southern Women’s Collective Condemns Senate for Failing to Pass the For the People Act; Asserts that Our Democracy Is Worth Fighting For
ATLANTA – The Black Southern Women’s Collective today condemned the U.S. Senate for failing to pass the For the People Act, the sweeping voter protection measure that would have created a uniform standard to protect the right to vote. The collective of Black women who lead, organize and inspire throughout the South demanded that elected officials protect the franchise or step aside.
“If we take Tuesday’s vote at face value, we must acknowledge that President Joe Biden and Vice President Harris were lame ducks from Day 1,” said Nse Ufot, executive director of the New Georgia Project. “If we were willing to take the vote at face value, it tells us that President Joe Biden’s 47 years in the Senate, Kamala Harris’s time in the Senate and her presiding over this process, and Chuck Schumer’s experience mean very little because they couldn’t ensure passage of this critical bill.”
Ufot’s group, the New Georgia Project, has joined a southern state bus tour with Black Voters Matter urging voters to contact their Senators and urge them to take action to protect our democracy. NGP is also mobilizing volunteers who are texting 30,000 to 40,000 people per day urging them to contact their elected officials.
“For Black Texans, the For the People Act would have stopped oppressive legislators from attacking Black churches’ long-standing history of attending Sunday services, where pastors have been preaching about the goodness of our God-given right to lift our voices and cast votes for leaders we trust and believe have our best interest at heart,” said Akilah S. Wallace, executive director for Faith in Texas.
Since the 2020 presidential election, 14 states across the country have enacted laws making it harder to vote. The For the People Act would have reversed some of the individual state restrictions. The collective and other voting rights advocates maintain that dismantling state-by-state voter suppression laws requires federal legislation.
“The fight to protect the right to vote is an enduring struggle. It is not that we love fighting, but our democracy is worth fighting for,” said Rev. Rhonda Thomas, executive director of Faith in Florida.
“Enhancing voting access and modernizing voter registration are important movements towards the progress young and seasoned Black voters desperately need in Texas, as we fight against a governor and state legislators determined to strip voting rights. They see the changing tides in the South, and they fear the reality that Texas is evolving, in part, thanks to young people of color who WILL vote their values. We need both federal and local grassroots organizing power so Texas is no longer the hardest state to vote in,” added Wallace.
The Black Southern Women’s Collective is a group of Black women organizers and executive directors committed to pooling resources and organizing insights to impact change in the South. The six-member group is organizing to advance voting rights and civic participation and bring an end to police violence, mass incarceration, and other issues adversely impacting Black communities. The group is led by Akilah S. Wallace, executive director of Faith in Texas; Ashley Shelton, founder, president and CEO of The Power Coalition, Louisiana; Nse Ufot, executive director of the New Georgia Project; Rev. Rhonda Thomas, executive director of Faith in Florida; Stephanie Strong, lead organizer of Faith in Action Alabama; and Tameka Greer, executive director of the Memphis Artists for Change in Tennessee.