The Congress of Conscience on America's Democracy

By Muhammad, Nisa | The Crisis, Spring 2016 | Go to article overview

The Congress of Conscience on America's Democracy


Muhammad, Nisa, The Crisis


This Spring the NAACP joined with more than 300 human rights organizations representing millions of Americans in the labor, peace, environmental, racial justice and civil rights movements in a protest known as Democracy Awakening.

In a joint statement, the organizations stated that "Congress is failing to do its job and ignoring the will of the people."

Thousands of civil rights and social justice activists who called themselves the Congress of Conscience marched from Philadelphia to Washington D.C., to participate in six days of sit-ins, rallies and demonstrations at the U.S. Capitol. The protestors wanted to bring attention to some of the most pressing issues facing our democratic society including voting rights, money in politics and the recent vacancy on the United States Supreme Court.

"This is not the America I grew up to believe in," said Rachel Daniels, a student at the University of Maryland, who traveled from Baltimore to attend the rallies. "Elections can be bought and paid for if you have the right amount of money. I'm just a student, and I want my vote to count for something. Why is the Supreme Court vacancy still empty? Why won't Congress work with President Obama?"

More than 300 protestors were arrested during the rallies April 18 including NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks.

"The right to vote is the closest thing we have to a civic sacrament. It is enshrined in our temple of democracy. Yet we are going into the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. When more than 33 states passed new laws requiring a photo ID to vote, but cut back and shut down the government offices where voters can obtain the required cards, the need to act is clear," said Brooks.

The Rev. Dr. William Barber II, president of the NAACP North Carolina State Conference and architect of Moral Mondays, was also arrested. …

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