Tag: 1965 Voting Rights Act

GirlTrek Mobilizing #FanniesArmy to Walk Across Major Cities on Oct. 6 to Honor Civil Rights Activist Fannie Lou Hamer

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Civil Rights activist and grass roots hero Fannie Lou Hamer would have turned 100 years old this October 6.  GirlTrek, the largest national public health nonprofit and movement for Black women and girls, is celebrating her legacy by hosting 100 national walks.

Known for her courage on the frontlines of the American Civil Rights Movement, Hamer stunned the world with her electrifying account of brutal attacks and local terror in the Jim Crow South. She stood strong, demanding the attention of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson by leading an unparalleled grassroots campaign and political party in Mississippi that delivered over 60,000 votes. Fannie Lou Hamer is responsible for helping secure the 1965 Voting Rights Act and changing the tide of justice.

The scale of her impact is made greater by her life story. Fannie Lou Hamer worked as a sharecropper from age 6. As a young woman, in an extralegal, violent act, she was given a forced hysterectomy. Unbroken, she adopted children. At 44 years old, Fannie Lou Hamer joined the American Civil Rights Movement. From church basements to the White House, Hamer was celebrated for her ability to inspire everyday people to action.

“In the iconic words of Fannie Lou Hamer, we’re ‘sick and tired of being sick and tired.’ She died too soon putting her body on the line for our freedom and we want to celebrate her life in a big way. In her honor, we are going to raise an army of sisters, #FanniesArmy, who will lead 100 walks across America at sunset on October 6th,” said GirlTrek cofounder T. Morgan Dixon.

To participate in #FanniesArmy, walk for 100 minutes at sunset on October 6th wherever you are with family and friends. To be counted, register your walk at https://rebrand.ly/fanniesarmy. The first 100 leaders to sign up will receive special edition #FanniesArmy T-shirts.

“While the country reels from conflict in Charlottesville, this is an opportunity to herald the legacy of an American hero who brought us together,” Dixon said. “Fannie Lou Hamer died too early at 59, her body riddled with heart disease and cancer. I’m reminded of the words of R. Boylorn, [Hamer] ‘never saw death coming because she was too busy taking care of others.’ She worked tirelessly in field offices and late hours registering people to vote. When pain rendered her homebound, she taught Freedom Riders the ways of resistance in her night gown from her front porch.”

Dixon and GirlTrek’s cofounder Vanessa Garrison, national staff and board of directors will travel to Hamer’s memorial statue in her hometown in Ruleville, Mississippi to walk with local trekkers on the centennial celebration of her birth.
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Federal Court Invalidates Part of Texas Congressional Map for Violating Voting Rights Act and U.S. Constitution

Illustration by Anneke Paterson / Todd Wiseman via texastribune.org

by Alexa Ura AND Jim Malewitz via texastribune.org

Federal judges invalidated two Texas congressional districts Tuesday, ruling that they must be fixed by either the Legislature or a federal court. A three-judge panel in San Antonio unanimously ruled that Congressional Districts 27 and 35 violate the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act.

The judges found that Hispanic voters in Congressional District 27, represented by U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, were “intentionally deprived of their opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice.” Congressional District 35 — a Central Texas district represented by Democrat Lloyd Doggett of Austin — was deemed “an impermissible racial gerrymander” because lawmakers illegally used race as the predominant factor in drawing it, the judges wrote.

The 107-page ruling — the latest chapter of a six-year court battle over how Texas lawmakers drew political maps — sets up a scramble to redraw the districts in time for the 2018 elections. The court ruled only on the current congressional map, leaving legal challenges to the state House map unanswered. The court ordered the Texas Attorney General’s Office to indicate within three business days whether the Texas Legislature would take up redistricting to fix those violations — although Republicans in Austin had previously expressed no appetite to undertake a special session devoted to redistricting.

Otherwise, the state and its legal foes will head back to court on Sept. 5 to begin re-drawing the congressional map. That could shake up other congressional races when the boundaries are changed, though the court has asked the parties to consult with experts to “minimize the effect on adjoining districts.” Before Tuesday’s decision, the judges had already ruled that the Texas Legislature sought to weaken the strength of Latino and black voters while drawing state House and congressional districts in 2011, immediately following the 2010 U.S. Census.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton expressed mixed emotions about Tuesday’s outcome. “We appreciate that the panel ruled in favor of Texas on many issues in the case. But the portion of the ruling that went against Texas is puzzling considering the Legislature adopted the congressional map the same court itself adopted in 2012,” the Republican said in a written statement. “We look forward to asking the Supreme Court to decide whether Texas had discriminatory intent when relying on the district court.”

Minority and civil rights groups suing the state celebrated the ruling as a win for voters who they say were forced to cast votes under unconstitutional maps.

To read full article, go to: Federal court invalidates part of Texas congressional map | The Texas Tribune

Netflix Documentary on Singer and Social Activist Nina Simone Coming in 2015

Netflix is dipping its toe into original programming again with a timely documentary on provocative musical genius and social activist Nina Simone, aka the “High Priestess of Soul.” What Happened, Miss Simone? will tell the singer’s story in her own voice using over a hundred hours of previously unheard interviews. Produced in cooperation with Simone’s estate, it will also feature rare concert videos, diaries, letters and other private materials. It was directed by Oscar-nominated director Liz Garbus and will debut next year — possibly around the same time as an unauthorized Simone biopic starring Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Zoe Saldana.

Simone was a classically-trained musician who switched to soul, jazz and blues after being denied a prestigious scholarship, reportedly because she was black. During the 1960s, her music and lyrics became infused with a strong civil rights message and she spoke at demonstrations like the “Selma to Montgomery” marches, which eventually led to the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Describing her musical career, Garbus said that “for each of her millions of fans, Nina feels like a treasured secret.” Simone was also a controversial figure who advocated for violent revolution on behalf of African Americans, and Netflix said the film would take an “unflinching” look at her life.

The upcoming biopic joins other well-received titles from Netflix like the 3D-printing documentary Print the Legend and Academy Award-nominated The SquareWhat Happened, Miss Simone will arrive in all Netflix countries sometime next year.

Check out video of arguably her most famous protest song, “Mississippi Goddamn” below:

article by Steve Dent via engadget.com