On July 18, 2013, President Marvin A. McMickle, Ph.D., co-signed an op-ed addressing the ongoing immigration reform debate and the recent Supreme Court decision to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act in June. It was published in The Huffington Post on behalf of African-American and Latino faith leaders from across the United States.
As Christian faith leaders, two of our deepest values are love and justice. Informed by our Christian heritage and legacy of our shared histories in pursuit of a more perfect union, we know our nation is deeply enriched by the inclusion of a great mosaic of people in our democracy. Our eyes are on the prize of a democracy that reflects the universal principles of love and justice. However, two recent developments in our national landscape have called us to speak-up about the direction of our shared democracy.
Just weeks ago, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. Since 1965, the Voting Rights Act has been the shield that has protected the rights of racial-ethnic minorities to vote against state efforts to discriminatorily limit their voting strength. Several of the nine states that were previously covered by the requirement have begun to implement changes in voting procedures, such as restrictive voter ID laws, that will negatively impact, and potentially disenfranchise, Americans in the communities we serve. We should build bridges, not hurdles to the voting process. As we approach the 50th year of the March on Washington and Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington D.C., the present initiatives around the country to restrict voting rights are a retreat from the promise of that dream.