The anti-Black violence and continued police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin last week is yet one more tragedy on a 400+ year timeline of structural and systemic racism in America against the Black, Indigenous, and people of color who live here. 

Ever since the founding of American democracy, our nation has chosen to entrench and protect this system rather than realize the true promise of a democracy where everyone’s voice counts and elected officials enact laws that benefit all the people they are meant to represent. 

Whether it’s the violent intimidation of Black voters at the ballot box during the Jim Crow era or the strategic removal of blue USPS mailboxes during Trump’s presidency, some people in power are determined to suppress the vote and undermine democracy for their own personal gain.

Black Lives Matter. Ensuring a truly representative democracy will make us stronger in the fight against systemic racism and injustice. Protecting the right to vote is foundational to this work. This right is the best of our nation’s democratic values. We can’t achieve social and racial justice in America until we can guarantee free and fair elections that protect the votes of people who have been historically excluded from the democratic process and power.

We have an obligation in the countdown to the 2020 election to finally choose to protect democracy and every disenfranchised voter in America. Senate Republicans must urgently act to provide election funding and reforms to make sure every voter can safely cast their vote and have it counted. 

And in the near future, our leaders at every level of government must finish what the House of Representatives started and enact the For the People Act (H.R. 1). The pro-democracy reforms enshrined in HR1 will increase access to the ballot, end partisan gerrymandering, and allow for small donor financing of our elections so that every American has the opportunity to pursue elected office. These reforms have the potential to bring real representation to all levels of government, which is what it will require to bring meaningful and lasting social and racial justice to all areas of American life.