This episode argues that the Preamble to the Constitution invites you to add your voice to protecting and expanding voting rights to ensure the nation’s promise of equality for all. Since the Civil War, our nation has amended the United States Constitution at least once every fifty years to expand voting rights to persons previously excluded. The summer of 2021 marks fifty years since the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age to 18. Today, however, we face, renewed efforts to restrict voting rights through reluctance in Congress or state legislation making it more difficult to register and vote. It is time to assemble with others to protect and expand voting rights through local and national action. You can read the Constitution at: https://constitution.congress.gov/constitution/ Citations to Professor Akhil Amar are from his book, America’s Constitution, A Biography, (Random House, NY, 2005), (states waiving restrictions, thus expanding the number of persons eligible to participate in the state ratification process of the Constitution: 7) (no amendment has restricted voting rights: 19) (union not a league or confederacy: 33) (immigrant signers of the Declaration of Independence and members of the First Congress and First Supreme Court: 164). Information on the efforts to repeal state anti-black laws in the 19th Century can be found in Kate Masur, Until Justice Be Done, America’s First Civil Rights Movement, From the Revolution to Reconstruction, (W.W. Norton & Company, N.Y., 2021) (black laws defined: 16-19) (William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass, 237-238). For more information on Group Action for Peace, see: Robert Armbruster, “‘Working Within the System’ Youths Press for Registration,” (The Record, August 24, 1970). To find additional information on the Helen C. Peirce School for International Studies, see: http://peirce.cps.edu For information on one historical assembly to protect the rights of freed black Chicagoans prior to the Civil War, see Craig B. Mousin, “A Clear View from the Prairie: Harold Washington and the People of Illinois Respond to Federal Encroachment of Human Rights,” 29 S. Ill. L. J. 285 (Fall, 2004/Winter, 2005),209-304. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2997657 For a current example of urging Congress to provide the DACA students with a path to citizenship, over 500 college and university Presidents and Chancellors recently called upon Congress to legislate a “permanent roadmap to citizenship for undocumented youth and students.” see: https://www.presidentsalliance.org/press/statement-hanen-daca-decision-2021/ In addition to DACA recipients, John Washington on Lationo USA reports about a proposed New York City bill that would expand the right to vote in municipal elections to non-citizen residents. You can find his story at: https://www.latinousa.org/2021/07/30/immigrantvoters/ For more information on Group Action for Peace, see: Robert Armbruster, “‘Working Within the System’ Youths Press for Registration,” (The Record, (Hackensack, NJ), August 24, 1970).
Mousin, Craig. (2021) Posterity.
DePaul University, Division of Mission and Ministry