Executive Director Noreen McClendon CCSCLA Asks President Biden and His Administration To Commit To Ensuring Perpetual Voting Rights for African Americans.
Feb. 26, 2021 / CCSCLA / LOS ANGELES & WASHINGTON
Dear Honorable President Biden and Honorable Vice President Harris, congratulations on your election victory.
African Americans played a significant role in your election victory. Many sources are asking what will your administration do specifically for the African American population. Due to the oppression of African Americans in the United States for hundreds of years, our needs are vast. African Americans are not a monolithic population. We prioritize our needs differently.
Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles (CCSCLA) was founded in 1985 to defeat a toxic waste-burning incinerator slated to be built in our community. Our founders organized and worked for more than two years and successfully defeated the environmentally-dangerous project. The leadership quickly turned from what they were against to pursue what the community was for.
Since that time, we have developed over 700 units of affordable housing (rental and for-sale), developed an 80,000 square foot shopping center anchored by a grocery store, two soccer fields, introduced hundreds of young people to the jobs behind-the-scenes in the entertainment industry, provided employment training and screening for employers and worked tirelessly on behalf of the ex-offender population.
In our early years, we organized more than 57 block clubs.
As our community has changed over the past 30 plus years, our organizing efforts have shifted as well. We work with groups that are already organized and have similar interests on a particular issue. As a result, we no longer do block club formations but, rather, provide training for organizations already formed around a specific issue whose interests intersect with our own.
In that regard, CCSCLA has decided to provide you with specific asks through a series of Sign-On Letters produced by CCSCLA and signed-onto by organizations in our network that choose to support our specific request to your administration. Every letter is a stand-alone ask. Signing-on to one letter does not obligate an organization to support every issue. CCSCLA is simply going to be asking for signatures for issues that each organization can support. They will be single-issue letters.
If the 2020 election cycle taught America anything, it is that every vote counts. African Americans fought for over 100 years to obtain the right to vote. The most important deliverable that the Biden-Harris Administration can deliver for African Americans is the sustained right to vote without fear or intimidation.
The Trump campaign and the Republicans fought to invalidate vote-by-mail because it eliminates the ability to intimidate voters at the polls. They have filed more than 170 lawsuits nation-wide in the last month to deny, impede, or severely restrict the rights of Americans to vote. Georgia is proposing legislation that makes it illegal to pass out water or food to people waiting in line to vote. Nevada is even proposing a scheme whereby the “chief elections official” will decide which slate of electors to certify. This is antithetical to the fundamental principle of democracy.
When the Voting Rights Act was passed, it was given a sunset date. It needs to be made permanent. It is the only tool that gives African Americans a chance to avoid being exterminated, exploited, murdered, and stripped of all dignity.
This Sign-On Letter is to request that your administration do everything within its power to ensure that voting rights are secured for all Americans in perpetuity, that voting is made easier and available to all Americans, that citizens returning from incarceration have their voting rights restored, that Americans can vote without fear of intimidation, that foreign governments are restrained from interfering in our elections and that corporate influence over elections is marginalized.
We are asking that should HR1 come to your desk for a signature that you sign it.
We ask for a review of the freedom-of-speech concerns raised by the ACLU in its March 1, 2019 letter to the House Rules Committee (https://www.aclu.org/letter/aclu-letter-house-rules-committee-hr-1).
The overbroad and subjective language in the DISCLOSURE portion of this legislation can potentially be weaponized by opponents of democracy and have unintended consequences that could severely limit non-profit organizations’ participation in advocacy work because its donors may inadvertently become attached to work that they did not sponsor and decide to withdraw or discontinue future support for other work of the organization.
It may have a silencing effect on those organizations closest to the people and their ability to advocate on behalf of their communities.
The highlights of HR1 are attached for in-depth details about what the legislation will do.
Thank you for your support.
Executive Director Noreen McClendon
Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles
LA, CA 90011