from Lauren Bailey
Pax Christi USA National Field Organizer
The fundamental belief behind democracy is that everyone’s voice has equal say in the decisions being made. Over the past year, we’ve seen hundreds of challenges to that belief — both through legislation and through individual acts. All of this is even more deeply challenging to wrestle with because we know that the political sphere, even in its most perfect form, is not going to bring us the solutions we are searching for.
Protecting voting rights is an urgent and essential need, which is why Pax Christi USA is partnering to host the March On for Voting Rights, this Saturday, August 28th, on the 58th anniversary of the March on Washington. Since the start of 2021, 48 states have collectively introduced 389 bills that contribute to voter suppression. There are two bills in Congress that could reinstate some of these rights — the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. These two pieces of legislation share similarities, but they serve as bookends to one another for comprehensive democracy reform. One without the other is not enough.
Ultimately, we know that even once the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act are enacted, there is still work to be done. People who are incarcerated or living with a felony conviction, those without citizenship, survivors of power-based violence needing to maintain anonymity for their safety, and countless other populations will continue to face barriers to voting access unless we push for even more reforms. These essential pieces of legislation remind us of the many reasons to continue working towards the elimination of barriers in every facet of our democracy.