Asian Americans to rally in Roanoke, Va. for voting rights and democracy
Rep. Goodlatte and Congress urged to restore the Voting Rights Act
ROANOKE, Va. (June 22, 2015) –nAsian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC will join with other civil rights and voting rights advocates in Roanoke, Virginia’s Elmwood Park beginning at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 25 to rally for Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act. Terry Ao Minnis, Advancing Justice | AAJC’s director of the census and voting programs, will speak at the rally.
Media who would like to attend the rally can RSVP to Scott Simpson at [email protected] More information about the rally and a full list of speakers is available at www.VRAforToday.org.
June 25 is the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, Shelby County v. Holder, which gutted the Voting Rights Act. This decision directly impacts Asian Americans living in Virginia and across the nation.
Congress has the ability to take action to restore the Voting Rights Act but congressional leadership has yet to act. The rally targets Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who represents part of Roanoke and chairs the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Goodlatte has yet to take action to protect voters from discrimination in Virginia and throughout the nation.
Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the country, naturalizing and registering to vote in places least expected – the U.S. South and Midwest. These regions, which have a history of discrimination in voting, are where minority communities need the most protection at the voting booth. The number of Asian Americans registered to vote in Virginia increased by 136 percent between 2000 and 2012, and the number of Asian Americans casting ballots in Virginia increased by 180 percent between 2004 and 2012, rates significantly higher than all other racial groups.
While an unprecedented number of Asian Americans turned out to vote in 2012 in Virginia, voters are no longer protected in the same way as they were before the Shelby decision. As Asian American communities continue to grow rapidly in Virginia and other Southern states, racial tensions could increase, and discrimination at the polls could also increase, resulting in decreased Asian American voter turnout. The Voting Rights Act, if restored, can help ensure that Asian Americans can vote free from discrimination and be able to influence elections in the future.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC is a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. working to fight for civil and human rights and empower Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to participate in our democracy. Advancing Justice | AAJC is part of a national affiliation that also includes Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice – Chicago and Advancing Justice – Los Angeles.