In the parking lot of a church in North Las Vegas, a crowd of about 50 locals and politicians applauded, held candles and honored the legacy of former Representative John Lewis on the anniversary of his death on Saturday night.
The Faith Organizing Alliance, Common Cause and several local voting rights organizations invited voters in Las Vegas to the First African Methodist Episcopal Church on Revere Street to learn about the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, bills that would expand voting rights. and amend the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The rally included a candlelight vigil in solidarity with the national vigils in honor of Lewis.
“John Lewis was in front of the walkers as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge,” said Representative Steven Horsford. “He was beaten, bled and, as he shared, he almost died for this basic right to vote. He was young, but he was trying to speak up for his community and for change. This heritage is under attack.
Horsford said the For the People Act was passed in the House. Congressional records show the bill was first read in the Senate on March 13, 2019. The John Lewis bill was introduced to the Senate on July 22, 2020. Horsford urged voters to call their senators and bring their support for the bills.
“It’s about making sure every voice is heard at the polls,” Horsford said. “Why are their groups trying to deny people the right to vote? When you vote, you have the power. Things change, problems change.
Horsford and Rep. Dina Titus recalled the times they had spoken to Lewis inside the church.
“He said the vote is the most powerful weapon you can use, that you have, and that you should never take it for granted,” Titus said. “People died, fought, shed blood, lost families, did everything to get this right and we should consider it a right and always exercise it.”
Felicia Hayes, originally from Las Vegas, wore a gray shirt with a black woman flexing her muscles. On her shirt it was written “You cannot stop me from voting,” and the word vote was written on the woman’s shoulder. Hayes said she was concerned about her grandchildren’s right to vote. The youngest in her family are 20 and 21, but she thinks it’s still her job to stand up for their rights.
“We’re going backwards,” Hayes said. “I thought they were moving forward, but when I saw that they were trying to take our voting rights away from us in 2021, it was just mind blowing to me.”
Emily Zamora was with her 6-year-old son, William, when she said many lawmakers were unlike her community.
“I fight for the right to vote every day because I want to make sure that when he gets the right to vote for the next 13 years, he doesn’t have to face some of the obstacles that many of our communities face. today, “she said. .