The Andrew Goodman Foundation Condemns Georgia’s Racist Voter Suppression Law
Last night, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into law SB202, 95 pages of voting restrictions explicitly targeting Black Americans. The provisions of this shameful law are also an intentional assault on the voting rights of youth of color ironically occuring as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, which prohibits age discrimination in voting. Despite being cloaked in the pretense of preventing voter fraud, this law is a direct response to record Black youth voter turnout in Georgia in the 2020 election, which was declared “the most secure in American history.”
SB202 is a deliberate attempt to return to the Jim Crow Era where the denial of the voting rights of Black Americans were codified by state laws and enforced through intimidation and violence. The parallels between then and now could not be clearer. When voter suppression efforts failed in 2020, what followed was a violent insurrection seeking to overturn the results of the election. With the failure of the insurrection came 250 plus voter suppression laws across the country with Georgia leading the way. More alarming, when Georgia State Representative Park Cannon, acting in her official capacity as a representative of the people, attempted to witness the bill being signed into law, she was arrested and violently dragged from the Capitol building. The Andrew Goodman Foundation stands in solidarity with our dear friend, Rep. Park Cannon, and all others who have been speaking truth to power in opposition of these racist voter suppression laws.
In 1964, our organization’s namesake, Andrew Goodman, was brutally murdered in Mississippi along with James Earl Chaney and Michael Schwerner for registering Black Americans to vote during Freedom Summer. This tragedy was not that long ago. And given the violence and murders that occured in our nation on January 6th, we cannot take for granted that it will not happen again.
The swift passage and signing of this nearly 100 page bill, which goes so far as to criminalize giving water to voters standing in line, demonstrates the fragility of democracy. It makes the passage of the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act not only a moral imperative but a necessary safeguard against the creeping unraveling of our democracy. Cynical legislators in Georgia and in 42 other states are counting on outrage and attention fading in a few weeks. We must once again join forces and maintain the same long-term persistent organizing that activists did during the Civil Rights Movement to ensure that we defeat all of these voter suppression efforts and protect our democracy.