Dear Friend of NARF,
I write to you today as the nation pauses to remember and celebrate the life and service of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. We know that there is still a long road to Dr. King’s goal to ensure full voting rights for all Americans.
Over the last several years, NARF identified and documented specific and unique barriers Native Americans face when they try to vote in state and federal elections. You can read about this unequal treatment in our report, Obstacles at Every Turn: Barriers to Political Participation Faced by Native American Voters.
In the report you will find stories of intentional discrimination. Acts that take away the Native American voice and political power. You will read about politicians putting their own interests and re-election over the will of the people. Defending voting rights is the pressing civil rights issue of our time and right now we have the chance to do something about it.
Last year, the U.S. Senate took action on two voting rights bills: The Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA). Importantly, the VRAA includes in it the Native American Voting Rights Act provisions, which begin to address the unique situation of Native voters. It is time for Congress to act to protect the right of Native Americans to participate in the American democratic system.
That is why I write to you today, as we honor and remember Dr. King. It is the time to take action to protect our democratic ideals and civil rights. It is time to protect Dr. King’s legacy.
Right now we need you to contact your senators and let them know how important it is for the federal government to prioritize and protect voting rights. Let them know you support the Native American voting provisions, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the Freedom to Vote Act. The first peoples of this land should not be the last to vote.
Jacqueline De León
NARF Staff Attorney