Honor MLK by Defending Voting Rights

February 8th, 2005 - by admin

Steve Rosenthal, CEO / America Coming Together – 2005-02-08 23:06:33


Some Things Haven’t Changed. It’s Time to ACT.

There are so many powerful images from our country’s long struggle for racial and economic equality. Every history book has the same black and white pictures — from places like Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

So, as we prepare to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King on Monday, I’d like to share some equally powerful images of Election Day, 2004 — from places like Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

In honor of Dr. King and the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, please sign your name to our demand for electoral reform nationwide.

Join the fight. Send these images to everyone you know.

We’re just beginning to understand the impact of the aggressive campaign of misinformation, repression and intimidation that was unleashed by corrupt Republican officials and partisans in 2004.

Here are just a few examples (View the orginials by clicking here http://actforvictory.org/act.php/home/voting-rights-evidence ):

In Lake County, Ohio, a fake letter appearing to come from the Lake County Board of Elections was sent to newly registered voters saying that registrations gathered by progressive organizations (including ACT) are illegal and those voters would not be able to vote.

The week before the election, flyers were circulated in Milwaukee under the heading “Milwaukee Black Voters League” with some “warnings for election time” including that anyone convicted of any offense, however minor, is ineligible to vote; that any family member having been convicted of anything would disqualify a voter; and that any violation of these warnings would result in ten years in prison and a voter’s children being taken away.

A flyer designed to look like an official announcement from McCandless Township in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, was designed to misinform voters on a partisan basis. The flyer claimed that “Due to the immense voter turnout that is expected on Tuesday, November 2 the state of Pennsylvania has requested an extended voting period” encouraging people to vote on November 3rd.

So, with the dust settling on the 2004 elections, a much longer fight must continue on the streets and in the precincts where too many voices went unheard.

This petition and the strength of ACT’s ongoing field campaign will oppose and defeat any corrupt federal, state, and local official who blocks common sense efforts to ensure fairer voting in future elections. Demand change today. Learn more here.

We will not win by sending emails and airing television commercials. We will only win by building strong organizations on the ground from coast-to-coast. This is what ACT is doing in 2005.

Over the coming weeks, ACT staff and volunteers will be organizing town hall meetings to review the elections of 2004 and discuss our plans for the future. This is your chance to help shape ACT’s future and build the volunteer organization needed to win in 2005 and beyond.

Currently, we are making plans for meetings in the following cities.

• Columbus, OH – TBD http://actforvictory.org/act.php/home/townhall-columbus
• Los Angeles, CA http://actforvictory.org/act.php/home/townhall-la/ – January 22
• Milwaukee, WI – TBD http://actforvictory.org/act.php/home/townhall-milwaukee
• New York, NY – January 18 (*Capacity reached. More events soon.)
• Philadelphia, PA – TBD http://actforvictory.org/act.php/home/townhall-philadelphia/
• Phoenix, AZ – TBD http://actforvictory.org/act.php/home/townhall-phoenix
• St. Louis, MO – TBD http://actforvictory.org/act.php/home/townhall-stlouis/

More cities to be announced soon!

• If you are involved with a volunteer organization in another city that worked with ACT in 2004 or looking to work with us in the future, please let us know how we can support your continued efforts in 2005. Email volunteer@act4victory.org .

Paid for by America Coming Together (888 16th Street, NW, Suite 450, Washington, DC 20006), and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Observance
January 17, 2005

World peace through nonviolent means is neither absurd nor unattainable. All other methods have failed. Thus we must begin anew. Nonviolence is a good starting point. Those of us who believe in this method can be voices of reason, sanity, and understanding amid the voices of violence, hatred, and emotion. We can very well set a mood of peace out of which a system of peace can be built.
–Martin Luther King, Jr., December 1964

Martin Luther King Jr., was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929. A civil-rights leader and international hero, King is one of the 20th Century’s most visible advocates of non-violence and direct action as methods of social change.

Inspired by Gandhi’s achievements through non-violent resistance, King played a vital role in achieving significant gains for humanity ranging from the desegregation of schools and other public facilities to the acceleration of civil rights as a government priority.

Martin Luther King delivered one of the most passionate addresses of his career, his “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963 at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Later in 1963, King was designated Person of the Year by TIME Magazine.

In 1964, at the age of 35, King was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his unyielding efforts. In his address, King spoke of war and nuclear destruction:

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of nuclear annihilation… I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow… I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed.

In his speech “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution,” delivered at the National Cathedral, Washington, DC, on March 31, 1968, King stated:

It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence. And the alternative to disarmament, the alternative to a greater suspension of nuclear tests, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world, may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation, and our earthly habitat would be transformed into an inferno that even the mind of Dante could not imagine.

King was assassinated four days later on April 4, 1968.

Martin Luther King is one of the few social leaders to be honored with a national holiday. To commemorate Martin Luther King Day, read the following and pass the message onto your family and friends:

A Biography of Martin Luther King
• “I Have a Dream” delivered on August 28, 1963 at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom; http://www.mecca.org/%7Ecrights/dream.html

• TIME Magazine Person of the Year Award to Martin Luther King in 1963;
Martin Luther King’s Nobel Peace Prize address in 1964; http://nobelprize.org/peace/laureates/1964/king-lecture.html

• “Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution,” delivered at the National Cathedral, Washington, DC, on March, 31 1968; http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/publications/sermons/680331.000_Remaining_Awake.html

• Martin Luther King’s Quotes on War and Peace. http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/about_king/warandpeace/wpquotes.htm

More Information on Martin Luther King Jr.

Click here for more information on Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement;
Visit the website of Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change;
Visit the National Civil Rights Museum, originally The Lorraine Hotel where King was assassinated.