ACLU Calls on Congress to Honor Parks’ Memory, Says Voting Rights Act Must be Fully Reauthorized

December 1, 2005 12:00 am

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Statement of Caroline Fredrickson, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office, on 50th Anniversary of Rosa Parks’ Arrest

WASHINGTON — “Fifty years ago today, Rosa L. Parks’ courageous refusal to surrender her seat on a Montgomery bus sparked the modern civil rights movement that ultimately led to the end of legal racial segregation.

“Last month, Congress honored Parks by permitting her body to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. Congress can make a more lasting tribute to Parks by moving quickly to fully reauthorize the Voting Rights Act, portions of which are set to expire in 2007. A proper restoration and renewal of the Voting Rights Act would add substance to the many verbal tributes by members of Congress and others and reflect her exemplary sacrifice and life-long commitment to equality. The legacy of Jim Crow must be replaced with the legacy of Rosa Parks.

“The Voting Rights Act, more than any other piece of legislation, has helped fulfill the promise that all Americans should enjoy full and equal access to the ballot box regardless of race. Sadly, that promise is not always kept. The right to vote, free of interference or discrimination is central to our democracy. Reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act will ensure that African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans continue to enjoy the same unfettered access to the voting booth promised to all Americans.”

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