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Harris kicks off Juneteenth Day of Action

Vice President Harris kicked off Juneteenth’s National Day of Action by highlighting organizations working to expand the right to vote for Black Floridians.

In a new letter, Harris spotlighted the Florida-based Equal Ground Education Fund, a Black-led nonpartisan organization working to expand Black political power in the state. 

“As you all know, the freedom to vote is fundamental. Our democracy is stronger when everyone participates, and it is weaker when anyone is left out,” Harris wrote in her letter. 

“Across our Nation, extremists have attacked the sacred freedom to vote,” she added. “This not only harms voters in every state but also disproportionately harms Black voters throughout Florida.”

Since 2022, nearly 1 million registered voters have been purged from Florida’s active voter rolls, according to Tampa-based station WMNF. 

In 2023, Florida Senate Bill 7050 implemented severe restrictions to third-party voter registration and mail-in voting. These restrictions have a disproportionate impact on voters of color. Floridian voters of color are five times more likely to use third-party organizations than white people to register to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. 

“Today, as we commemorate 159 years since enslaved Black people across the country were freed from slavery, we also live with the reality that extreme lawmakers are rewriting that very history and working to silence us just like they did nearly 160 years ago,” said Genesis Robinson, interim executive director of Equal Ground. 

The Biden-Harris reelection team has been hoping to rebuild support among Black voters as some polls show the president struggling with the crucial demographic.

Ahead of Wednesday, the White House hosted a Juneteenth concert and announced that Juneteenth would be a National Day of Action for voting. 

On Tuesday, President Biden — who recognized Juneteenth as a federal holiday in 2021 — said the day not only marks the end of “America’s original sin,” but marks the beginning of “making the promise of America real for every American.”

“I call upon the people of the United States to acknowledge and condemn the history of slavery in our Nation and recognize how the impact of America’s original sin remains,” Biden said in his proclamation. “I call on every American to celebrate Juneteenth and recommit to working together to eradicate systemic racism and inequity in our society wherever they find it.”

Harris also told Equal Ground in her letter that the administration is committed to passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, two pieces of federal legislation that would expand voter registration and voting access and prohibit voter discrimination.

Equal Ground will kick off its own day of action on Wednesday, coalescing more than 100 volunteers to mobilize and educate Black Floridians about the recent voter changes and what they must do in order to vote in November’s election.

“This Juneteenth, we are continuing our efforts to combat attacks on Black Floridians and voter suppression tactics the best way we know how: reaching out directly to our community,” Robinson said. “No matter what extremist lawmakers do, our community will not be silenced and our resilience will not be broken.”

Source: The Hill

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