Protection of fair and free elections is a cornerstone of our democracy. The fight for freedom and rights, or any changes to our institutions, our legislation, and policies all starts with voting. In a true democracy, every vote counts.
For years, voter suppression has taken the form of various intimidation tactics. These tactics have historically targeted communities of color to systematically suppress their votes, thereby preventing them from having their voices heard to influence legislation, and from being able to change the very system in place that legitimizes the suppression of their votes.
The 2020 presidential election presented a unique situation for voters, as most citizens were asked to stay home and mail in their ballots by a certain state-defined deadline. New circumstances provided new access to vote. The Democratic party worked tirelessly to ensure that all voters were taking advantage of this opportunity to exercise their right to vote unhindered by usual voter suppression tactics. This resulted in a landslide democratic victory.
In the aftermath of a successful democratic election, the republican party moved swiftly to action to prevent a major loss like that again. State by red state, starting with Georgia, republican state officials moved to pass new legislation to further impede voter access and enforce stricter requirements that would prevent key demographics from being able to vote. This is how the republican party plans to win its next election: by passing statewide voter suppression laws to legitimize their attack on democracy.
Voter suppression is a direct attack on our democracy and perpetrates a system of injustice. The fight for voting rights is not just an issue of access and equity, but is deeply entwined in the fight for racial and social justice.
As the social responsibility partner of the WNBPA, we teamed up with players that are actively fighting for social justice. On the issue of voting rights, Atlanta Dream All-Star and secretary of the WNBPA, Elizabeth Williams, has been a passionate champion of this issue.
“When we talk about voting rights or wanting legislative changes, it starts with the vote,” said Elizabeth in her exclusive Shout Out video with Amalgamated Bank. “We’re seeing bills being passed that are negatively impacting communities of color that want to make a change and have their voices heard.”
Watch her full Shout Out video below.
Inspired by our collaboration with activist/player Elizabeth Williams, we will contribute to Black Voters Matter through our WNBPA Social Impact Fund, alongside other organizations working for social, racial, economic and gender justice. Black Voters Matter is a nonprofit organization committed to protecting voting rights particularly in Black communities by increasing voter registration and turnout, advocating for policy protections, and organizing relevant training programs.
A healthy democracy is one in which votes are not systematically suppressed due to race, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration status, or socioeconomic status, and all can easily exercise their constitutional right to vote. To further commit ourselves to protecting voting rights, Amalgamated Bank has adding “Voting Rights” to its list of official Issues We Care About to raise more awareness on the issue at hand, and to ensure that we’re living up to our reputation as America’s socially responsible bank.
We are incredibly proud to lead the finance sector on issues of social, racial, environmental, and economic justice and we felt that the issue of voting rights was an unmissable part of this work. Thank you to Elizabeth Williams for being a passionate champion on this issue and joining her voice and her platform with ours to make a bigger stand on this issue together.