The Best & Worst Voting States

Infographic Courtesy of ACLU.

Infographic Courtesy of ACLU.

The right to vote is under attack all across our country.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires that cities, counties and states with histories of discriminatory voting laws seek federal permission before changing their election rules. Lately, the Supreme Court has made it easier for jurisdictions with troubled pasts to enact restrictive voting laws.

A total of 34 states have passed laws requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls. But with more than 11% of American citizens (over 21 million Americans) currently lacking these photo IDs, it’s clear that such laws could have a disastrous effect.

If left to stand, these laws could make it harder for key Democratic groups, including people of color, to get to the polls this fall. It is essential that all voices are heard. Here’s a rundown of the five most restrictive and least restrictive states (in terms of Voter ID laws).

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Facing Race

From left to right: Shannon, Justyn, Rinku Sen (leader of Race Forward and Publisher of Colorlines) and Lynda

From left to right: Shannon, Justyn, Rinku Sen (leader of Race Forward and Publisher of Colorlines) and Lynda

Last week, Progressive Pupil attended Race Forward‘s Facing Race Conference in Dallas, TX.  Held over three days from Thursday November 13th – Saturday, November 15th, this year’s event was a unique convening that brought together activists, community organizers, educators, and allies working toward social and racial justice.
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#MoralMonday

When I first heard the phrase “Moral Monday” on Twitter (#MoralMonday), I assumed it was a social media phenomenon like Throwback Thursday (#tbt), Friday Follow (#ff), or Caturday (#caturday). Instead, this catchy phrase has a much deeper and just purpose. It is a revival of 1960s Civil Rights Era activism and the old-school-style protests that took place in the South. This movement is pushing back on conservative policy changes that began in North Carolina in the early 2010’s that directly harm many already marginalized communities in the state.
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INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence

Image Courtesy of INCITE!

Image Courtesy of INCITE!

INCITE! is a national activist organization of radical feminists of color working to leverage grassroots organizing onto a national and transnational platform. INCITE! specifically focuses on issues of police violence, reproductive justice, and media justice

It’s important to understand what is identified as violence. It’s also important to address violence of oppression and how that oppression intersects in the lives of women of color. INCITE! is taking action by organizing conferences designed to build connections and develop thinking, mobilizing people around national projects, and engaging the media to help shape ideas about ending violence.

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The Last African Colony

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I have learned to feel empowered by rootlessness. Growing up first generation, far away from either of my parents’ homelands or families, I had trouble feeling that I belonged anywhere. In fact, I spent all of my time mimicking the people around me at any given moment, desperate for a singular, uncomplicated identity. America was my reality—but it was not my history. My histories were old and imbedded in the Mediterranean, the Eastern Sahara.

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#ChangeTheMascot

 

The most important thing is that the indigenous people are not vindictive by nature. We are not here to oppress anybody – but to join together and build Bolivia, with justice and equality.
-Evo Morales, President of Bolivia

We know there are communities of indigenous peoples all around the world: from the Tibetans in China and the Huli people from Papua New Guinea, to the Nenets in Russia. But let’s not go that far. Here in America –and not only in the States, but in the entire continent– we have a variety of indigenous communities all around us. This is a continent rich in cultural diversity, from the Mayan civilization in southern Mexico and northern Central America, to the Quechua people in Peru and the Innu people in Canada.
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“Dear White People” or Nah?

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Way back in 2006, when I was a plump faced freshman at Johns Hopkins, I got my first taste of proper American racism. That year the big Halloween party was called “Halloween in the Hood.” The ladies were encouraged to come dressed as “hoodrats, skig skags, or scallywhops” and one too many guys tried to be your dark skin friend that looks like Michael Jackson. Our Black Student Union protested for weeks but not much had changed. Eight years later, the darling of the independent film scene is a small film about Black kids at a prestigious, predominantly White, institution dealing with a racist Halloween party called “Dear White People.” Somebody must have dropped the top on their whip, because I feel some type of way.

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Use Your Power

Progressive Pupil New Leader for Social Change Claudie Mabry Registers Voters

 

Today, too few of us will make our voices heard at ballot boxes throughout the United States.  The representatives chosen to speak and decide for us at local, state and national levels in these mid-term elections will have a great deal of power over many of the things that matter to us most: such as how our children are educated, whether we feel safe with police officers in the street, the conditions in which we work, and how much we are compensated for our work.  Voting is an important way we can use our power, but too many of us have been falsely convinced that we do not have any power at all. (Click here to find out about the voter identification laws in your state).

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InDivisible: The Story of Black Native American People

Comanche family, early 1900s. Photo courtesy of Sam DeVenney.

Comanche family, early 1900s. Photo courtesy of Sam DeVenney.

Here is a family from the Comanche Nation located in southwestern Oklahoma. This photo exemplifies the mixed culture and history of the Black Native American people. As a result of years of enslavement and discrimination, Africans and Native Americans created a unique ethnicity, often unheard-of in American History.
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Reclaim and Renew the Indigenous Image

Dolce & Gabbana face criticism after they debuted these earrings at Milan Fashion Week.

On Halloween people who are aware of cultural appropriation get increasingly squeamish about the slew of “tribal” costumes – Native American headdresses and even blackface. Although Halloween is often blatant in its racist and insensitive displays, cultural appropriation is a regular occurrence in Western fashion, art and media. Recently, Dolce & Gabbana drew criticism after they sent racist “Blackamoor” earrings down the runway. These images are recognizable in the U.S. as “Aunt Jemima” figures and demonstrates blatant insensitivity to their connection to colonialism and slavery.

Approximately 350 million indigenous people – identified as descendants of people who lived in a country before the conquest or settling of dominant groups – live in over 70 countries today. Recognition and protection of indigenous people’s rights is, unfortunately, deplorably low. In Africa, only the Republic of Congo has enacted laws to enforce indigenous peoples’ rights. It is crucial for dominant cultures to respectfully relate to the culture of indigenous groups and for indigenous people to have a voice in contemporary culture.

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