Equal Rights and Voting Rights: LCV Leads the Discussion

Sep 27, 2017

Last week, LCV joined Representative John Conyers in hosting a panel at the 2017 Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference.  Desiree Tims, LCV’s judiciary program director, moderated the panel—Voting: Engaging Activism Beyond the Ballot Box—which included voices from across the community, including Symone Sanders (CNN), Derrick Johnson (NAACP), Rev. Lennox Yearwood (Hip Hop Caucus), Michele Jawando (CAP), Nicole Austin-Hillery (Brennan Center for Justice), Tanya Clay House (National Bar Association), Rev. Wendell Anthony (Detroit Branch NAACP), Dr. Killion Munzele Munyama (delegate to Polish parliament), and Ashley Bryant (consultant).  Watch the video below to hear these leaders discuss continued attacks on voting rights and strategies to build an even more engaged electorate.

Earlier in the week, Desiree also spoke at a rally outside the Capitol, where she joined others in calling for We the People to reclaim our Constitution and stand up for the equal rights this sacred document protects.  As Desiree put it, equal rights means “equal access to clean air and to clean water,” no matter one’s zip code.  You can read her full remarks below.

Good morning—my name is Desiree Tims and I am the judiciary program director at League of Conservation Voters.

Today, We the People, acknowledge, remember, and celebrate the liberties outlined in the bedrock of our democracy, the Constitution. 

Our Constitution—a sacred document established to ensure that we are all protected by democratic values. This document divides our checks and balance system into three equal parts—including a gatekeeper, the judicial branch.

The gatekeepers or judges, are tasked with protecting the Constitution and the words that give it power. Every judge nominated and appointed must protect the values and principles enshrined in it. It includes justice, it includes equal protection and equal rights—not for the wealthiest, not for the largest corporations, but for We the people.   

That means everyone has equal access to clean air and to clean water, no matter their zip code. It means we all can enjoy the public lands that make our country great. It means putting people first—not corporations.

That’s why we’re fighting the Trump administration’s attacks on environmental protections that ensure safe and healthy communities for all. And that’s why we’re striving to maintain a system that ensures we have fair courts, independent judges, and access to justice.

Two-hundred-and-thirty years later—there’s still a lot of work to do to ensure the Constitution’s protections apply to us all. But we celebrate the spirit of the living Constitution, which allows for protest and growth in order to broaden and sustain our democratic values.

And we’ll push forward together.

As we the people.

Thank you.