Vigil held for Congressman John Lewis in Huntsville


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – July 17th marks one year since the death of civil rights leader and U.S. Representative John Lewis. In honor of his memory and work throughout the years a vigil was held Saturday evening in Huntsville.

“We know the vote is important, we know that is what we can do to really elevate our voices,” said event organizer Jessica Fortune Barker of non-profit Lift Our Vote. Barker was also a one time staffer of Congressman Lewis.

“John Lewis meant voting, he meant freedom, he meant liberation, to me John Lewis and so many of our other foot soldiers who crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in the Bloody Sunday of 1965. They have represented the struggle, the fight and the need to continue on,” said Barker.

Barker, among the speakers working to galvanize support for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore a provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that was removed by the Supreme Court in 2013. That provision required certain jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination in voting to receive approval, known as preclearance, from the justice department before making changes to their voting rules. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act has not yet been written or introduced, but members of a U.S. House Subcommittee have held multiple field hearings in recent months to gather evidence of discrimination.

“We know that it is very important that every voter regardless of their beliefs, their political beliefs, their race, their creed, they need to be able to exercise the choices and the decisions that they feel will best represent their communities.”

Organizers also ensured that those attending were properly registered to vote.

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