DI Statement in Response to Arrests of Advocates Calling for Changes to the Voting Rights Act

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Statement by Wendy Fields, Executive Director, Democracy Initiative

In response to arrest of advocates calling for restoration of the Voting Rights Act


We at the Democracy Initative congratulate Cornell Brooks and Stephen Green on their bold act of leadership to restore voting rights. We also applaud the young people who participated in this peaceful protest to strengthen our democracy for future generations. 

Earlier this week, Cornell William Brooks, Democracy Initiative board member and NAACP National President and CEO, and Stephen Green, National Director for the NAACP Youth and College Division, were arrested after a six-hour peaceful protest at the Roanoke office of Representative Bob Goodlatte.


Brooks and Green were joined by members of the Roanoke NAACP and youth council. Together, they urged Rep. Goodlatte to take action to restore the Voting Rights Act, which President Lyndon B. Johnson originally signed into law 51 years ago this week. Alarmingly, the past few years have seen a coordinated attempt to dismantle the landmark protections that the Voting Rights Act established and suppress voter turnout. As the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Goodlatte has blocked hearings on legislation to combat this surge in voter discrimination.


Our democracy only works when the voice of each person is heard and counted equally, which is why it is so critical that our elected officials restore and protect the Voting Rights Act.


Wendy Fields is the Executive Director of the Democracy Initiative. Prior to joining the Democracy Initiative, Wendy was the Vice President for Campaigns and Strategic Partnerships at Common Cause, where she focused on linking economic inequality and racial inequality to the democracy agenda. Previously, she spent more than 20 years at the United Auto Workers International Union where she devoted her time to organizing and coalition building.