This week, the Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference will feature the Democracy Restoration Act (DRA) to raise awareness about the importance of restoring the right to vote to people with criminal histories. Two meaningful events that will focus on the issue will take place in Washington, D.C. on Friday, September 17: the CBC’s Judiciary Braintrust, and the National Black Law Students Association’s Social Action Rally.
At 9:00 a.m. on Friday at the Washington Convention Center- Room 145-B, Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) will host a panel titled “Criminal Justice Reform: The Continuing Challenges to Equality” to examine racial disparities in the legal system. Erika Wood will speak about the importance of restoring the right to vote for formerly incarcerated people and why it is crucial that representatives support the DRA. The DRA will restore the right to vote in federal elections to over 4 million Americans who are living in their community but have been barred from having their voice heard in elections. The DRA also ensures that people on probation will be able to vote and that people are provided with voter registration information upon ending their sentence or beginning their time on federal probation. Among others, Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, Ben Jealous of the NAACP, and Ronald Hampton from the National Black Police Association, will be speaking on the panel.
Later in the morning, the National Black Law Students Association will host a Social Action Rally at the University of the District of Columbia. The rally will begin at 11:30 a.m. and allies of the DRA and those impacted by the current law will be speaking to encourage Congress to pass the bill. It should be an exciting day to raise awareness about the right to vote.
Save the Date: November 1, 2010 will be a national call-in day to support the Democracy Restoration Act. Visit www.brennancenter.org/dra for details.