Texas Democrats’ Statement on the 56th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement on the 56th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965:

“On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson — a great Texan and champion for civil rights — signed the Voting Rights Act into law. This iconic piece of legislation was the culmination of a centuries-long struggle led by Black activists to protect our most basic constitutional right: the right to make our voices heard at the ballot box.

“The passage of the Voting Rights Act marked a historic step in the struggle to protect the rights of Black and Brown Americans. This law brought new life to the ideals at the heart of our democracy, and pushed our country closer to living up to its promise. It did not come without struggle. Countless Black leaders — including the late, great Congressman John Lewis and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.– fought and bled to pass the Voting Rights Act, and realize the right of every Black and Brown American to make their voice heard. Their legacy continues to inspire and animate our movement — and from the powerful testimony of the great Rep. Senfronia Thompson, to the civil disobedience of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman Al Green, and Rep. Ron Reynolds, Black leaders remain at the forefront of the battle for voting rights.

“Today, the fight continues. Since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, Texas Republican lawmakers have done everything in their power to silence Texas voters and shut us out — especially people of color, voters with disabilities, young voters, and working Texans. Republicans like Greg Abbott are attacking voting rights for one reason: they know their days in office are numbered, and they are trying to cling to power the only way they can — by stopping us from voting. In the face of these attacks, Texas Democrats have not backed down. And today, as Abbott’s irregular special session comes to a close, our brave Democratic state legislators have succeeded in blocking those attacks for the time being — buying us critical time to secure national voting rights protections.

“There’s no ‘We the People’ without the right to vote. Even as Abbott calls for another irregular special legislative session in order to push his attacks forward, Texas Democrats will continue to fight tooth and nail to protect our constitutional right to vote. In 2021, we should be past this — yet the fight for voting rights remains one of the central civil rights struggles of our time. As we gear up for the next stage of the battle, I call on our federal lawmakers to meet this moment with the urgency it demands, and pass federal protections to finally fully enshrine the right to vote in our country. Our vote is our voice. We will not waver in defending it.”