As we remember and reflect on the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and  his work to have America end institutionalized and socialized racism, ASALH asks that  we also take note of Dr. King’s work to ensure voting rights for all and his promotion of  

economic solidarity amongst working class people. Toward that end, the Association for  the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) staunchly condemns the  recent law enacted in the state of Georgia titled “Election Integrity Act of 2021” which  severely hinders the very process of democracy. 

Rather than supposedly advancing election integrity, this law is unabashedly intended to  restrict the voter turnout in areas with large percentages of African Americans and other  people of color who were instrumental in producing Democratic victories in the 2020  Presidential and Senatorial elections. This is a blatant effort to resurrect historical  patterns of voter suppression while avoiding the explicit use of race to disqualify voters  that was the modus operandi during the Jim Crow era. Instead, the law will accomplish  the same objective by, for example, imposing strict identification requirements, reducing  the ability to vote by mail, and empowering the state Board of Elections to remove local  election officials. This latter provision is of special concern to election officials in  predominantly Black urban voting districts. The bill was signed in secret behind closed  doors under a painting of an idyllic plantation. The Bill’s heinous intent was underscored  by the arrest of African American Georgia legislator, Park Cannon, who attempted to  protest the signing. ASALH stands with the group of African American business  executives, the CEOS of Delta and more than 100 other companies, and Major League  Baseball. Collectively we actively oppose the demonstrably anti-democratic  electioneering machinations in Georgia that are underway in more than forty other states. 

It is important to recognize that this assault on the voting rights of African Americans is  one manifestation of a broader white supremacist attack on people of color, including the  violence against the Asian American community. These attacks serve as yet another  example of how some have set out to reinforce racial stratification in America. We call  for widespread vigilance and active resistance to this heightened wave of attacks on our  communities and our neighbors. As we watch the trial of Mr. George Floyd filled with  video tape from multiple camera angles and testimony from eyewitnesses and high ranking police officials, we and our allies believe that America must do more to end the  resurgence of attacks on our voting rights. A first step is to have Congress pass the John  Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and stop the flow of the restrictive voting tide  taking place in Georgia, Texas, Arizona and across the nation. 

In keeping with Dr. King’s mission to end racial injustice and increase social and  economic equality, ASALH National calls on its local chapters and friends to stem the  tide of racist attacks by:

(1) Reaching out to local Asian American organizations in an effort to create joint programming  that informs and engages our communities to combat racial aggression and oppression in all  forms together. These organizations include: 

  1. Movement Hub which addresses Anti-Asian Racism across the nation;
  2. b. Organization of Chinese Americans based in Washington, DC with branches across the nation dedicated to advancing the cause of Asian Pacific Americans;
  3. Georgia based legal advocacy group Asian Americans Advancing Justice; d. Immigrant and working-class group advocates California Chinese Progressive Association of San Francisco;
  4. The of Florida which calls together all persons of the Pacific Rim

(2) Encouraging our membership and those concerned to contact their Congressperson or State  Representative to voice concerns over the Georgia Voting Act S. B. 202 and the arrest of GA  State Representative Park Cannon; and (3) Continue to support the work of ASALH by donating  to our organization as we continue to educate, inform, and advocate for our community. 

ISSUED BY ASALH’s Public Commentary Committee