Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act (VRA) into law, calling the day ''a triumph for freedom." The VRA was an historic achievement that changed America. But two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a key part of the law, leading to a full frontal attack on the voting rights of American citizens.
Congress currently has before it various proposals to restore the Voting Rights Act, but has taken no action in spite of mounting evidence of voter discrimination. Every day that Congress fails to act Americans are at risk of finding new barriers at the polls. In fact, we are dangerously close to holding our first presidential election in 50 years without the critical protections once embodied in the VRA.
Our nation has taken great strides in advancing equality since 1965, but voter discrimination still exists today, and minority voices are still being silenced. The civil rights activists who helped pass the Voting Rights Act 50 years ago left our country with a legacy of strength and bravery in the fight for equal rights for all. Now is the time to build on that legacy.