Black Community Leaders and Voting Rights Activists Push the White House for More Action

Sen. Raphael Warnock. Image: Evelyn Hockstein- Pool/Getty Images

President Joe Biden is dragging his feet and doubling back on a lot of issues that he promised to tackle during his presidency— canceling student loans, dedication to supporting immigrant families, and increased political capital for Black Americans. And, Black leaders aren’t having it. A large part of Biden’s platform and success in his election was reliant on the support of Black voters and his expressed commitment to solving Black issues. During his campaign, he maintained that his goal was to help Black Americans gain true equity in this country. Thus, it was expected that he would return the favor by staying true to his word. With the Biden administration’s Build Back Better plan gaining more traction with the promise of rebuilding the stability of the middle class, Black community leaders are calling for equal attention and focus in regard to voting rights legislation. 

This week, voting rights activists are planning to meet with Biden’s senior aides to discuss a proactive strategy to overcome voting restrictions while ensuring that the passing of other legislation is no longer stalled by Congress. Earlier this year, the activists were urged to “out-organize” Republicans as a tactic to achieve voting equity.

With the heightened prevalence of purging of voter rolls and grandfather clauses to suppress and discourage Black voter participation in local, state, and federal elections, it is still of the utmost importance that voting rights legislation is legislators’ top priority. This is especially true given that Vice President Kamala Harris, who has been noticeably silent on a variety of issues, is running point on all things related to voting rights.

In order for there to be a more aggressive approach to voting rights legislation, President Biden would need to put more pressure on the Democrats to take action, a tactic he has failed to do.  In a quote obtained from NBC News, Sen. Raphael Warnock stated “Voting rights needs to be the very next thing we take up. It needs to be the very next thing. And in fact, we should not go home for recess until we at least have a defined and clear path for how we’re going to pass voting rights.”

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