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Mothers of the Movement and Black female celebrities, including Beyoncé, urge Senate to act on voting rights

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Amid voting chaos in various primary elections around the country, the Mothers of the Movement, along with a group of Black female celebrities, voiced their concerns about voting access in a letter to Congress.

The letter was sent on Thursday, the seventh anniversary of the Shelby vs. Holder Supreme Court ruling, which gutted a major part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

“Fallout from the most recent primaries makes it abundantly clear that we must act now to ensure every citizen can freely and fairly vote in the upcoming general election, and chaos at polling places in recent primaries has demonstrated that elections officials are unprepared to hold safe and accessible elections this year,” part of the letter reads.

The letter urges the Senate to pass the HEROES Act, a historic $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that was passed by the House last month, and $3.6 billion in funding for state administration of federal elections.

It was signed by mothers of Black men and women who have been killed by police officers, including Gwenn Carr, the mother of Eric GarnerSybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon MartinGeneva Reed-Veal, the mother of Sandra Bland; and Tamika PalmerBreonna Taylor‘s mother.

The letter also was signed by dozens of prominent Black women, including BeyoncéViola DavisOctavia SpencerJada Pinkett SmithGabrielle Union and Whoopi Goldberg.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, voters in Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio have endured hours-long lines, problems with voting equipment, shortages of poll workers and challenges voting by mail.

“This is modern-day voter suppression, plain and simple,” the women wrote in the letter. “People should be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote and stay healthy, even during a pandemic. We should not have to choose between public health and a functioning democracy.”

By Deena Zaru
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