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Black women denounce judicial attacks on Black voters

Statement from In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda

WASHINGTON — This month, two court actions have enraged Black voters: 1) the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a lower court’s ruling that an Alabama congressional map disadvantages Black voters; and 2) the sentencing of a Black woman, Pamela Moses, to six years in prison for illegally attempting to register to vote. (Moses, who was formerly incarcerated, was told by the corrections department and the county election commission that she was eligible to vote. The two government agencies were in error, which Moses discovered when she tried to register to vote and was arrested.) Marcela Howell, president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, issued the following statement in response:

“The courts are lining up against Black voters. This month, a Tennessee judge threw the book at a Black woman who made an honest mistake when she tried to register to vote. She got six years in jail, while white men convicted of voter fraud have gotten days in jail — or no jail time at all. We know why Pamela Moses got such a harsh sentence: Tennessee is telling Black voters to beware. Even if Black voters persevere in the face of voter suppression policies and laws, they are determined to make the act of voting dangerous — to keep us away from the polls.

“Also this month, the U.S. Supreme Court gave a green light to Alabama’s racist congressional map, which undercuts the voting rights of its Black citizens. When Black voters turned to the highest court in the land, justice was denied.

“These judges have stripped justice of its blindfold and replaced it with a hood. But we refuse to be bullied by the enemies of civil rights. If the courts refuse to protect the Constitution, we demand that Congress take action. We call on the Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — even if it requires a rule change to do so. The sanctity of our democracy demands nothing less.”


In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda is a national reproductive justice organization focused on lifting the voices of Black women at the national and regional levels in our ongoing policy fight to secure reproductive justice for all women and girls. Our eight strategic partners include Black Women for Wellness, Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, SisterLove, Inc. SisterReach, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, The Afiya Center and Women With A Vision.

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