March in downtown Phoenix calls for voter protection, police accountability
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Progressive National Baptist Convention is leading a March for Voter Protection and Police Accountability in Phoenix on Wednesday.
The Convention said it wants to draw attention to voter suppression in America, the fight of Black Americans for economic justice, as well as community police accountability and transparency. The group said the march is also in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy of fighting for justice.
Democratic Senator Raquel Teran addressed Arizonan’s mistrust in elections, saying, “Without fail, the legislative republicans have already dropped dangerous voter suppression laws-- they do it every session and they’re going to do it again. On the national level, it is crucial that our elected officials understand what’s happening right here at home. Arizona is still in desperate need of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.”
The act Senator Teran spoke about is one received by the Senate in Sept. 2021, focusing on modernizing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In general, the VRAA would require districts with a history of voting discrimination to get direct approval from the Department of Justice before changing any more voting laws. Those in favor of the act say that the act would boost minority voting across all elections, would ensure multilingual voting information, making voting registration more accessible, etc.
Dr. Willie Francois spoke about the Convention’s history and how it plans to fight for criminal justice reform. “Folks have told us over and over again that we have a policing system that is anti-immigrant, anti-Black, and anti-unhoused,” he said. “We are here because we want police departments that uphold their responsibility to be friendly...to protect...and to ensure that public safety is ensured for everybody. This should be a state where everybody is seen as legal, regardless of their registration status.”
Reverend David Peoples, president of the Convention, spoke about his concerns about the rise of white supremacy in both Arizona and across the U.S. “We must hold those in power accountable,” he said. “We will not accept being intimidated by those who consider themselves police or those who’ve claimed themselves as poll workers. We will not accept to be treated differently just because of the color of our skin.”
The Washington, D.C.-based PNBC was launched during the Civil Rights Movement of 1961 to incorporate the rights of Black Americans into Christianity and principles of fellowship, progress, service, and peace.
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