Voting rights rally honors MLK’s fight for equality, tackles voter suppression

SALISBURY, Md. – “To make a change in this world, we’re going to have to vote,” Worcester County NAACP President Ivory Smith said.

Taking action was the goal of Indivisible Worcester’s Voting Rights Rally in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Day.

“Martin Luther King had a dream and we’re living that dream and we want to keep his dream alive,” Smith said.

“We have politicians in this country who want to see voting rights curtailed. They don’t want everyone to have that fundamentally democratic right and responsibility to get out there and let their voices be heard at the polls,” Indivisible Worcester’s Susan Buyer said.

The rally mirrored efforts of a current national movement. It’s a call from members of King’s family, civil rights leaders, and other advocates to demand elected officials pass voting legislation including the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to tackle voter suppression.

That’s something I’m told doesn’t look just one way. “When someone’s working two jobs and can’t get the time off to go vote, that’s voter suppression or if the only time you can vote is only election day,” Salisbury City Councilwoman Michele Gregory said. “Somerset and Wicomico are the two poorest counties in the state. Folks are just struggling to get by and that can keep them from exercising their right to vote.”

Advocates say expanding access to the ballot box will not only bring more people to it but continue building on Dr. King’s dream for an equal America. “I believe that I was apart of Dr. King’s dream. Because he had a dream, I’m able to dream. Because I have a dream, the future and the kids I teach in public school systems will be able to dream,” Pocomoke City Councilman Todd Nock said.

“To have basics in society like health care, food, education, housing, and all those things that make it possible for us to survive,” Buyer said. “Certainly, the right to vote is the right to have a say how that will happen to us.”

Advocates say that initiatives like the voting rally will help spark change for the future.

Now for those here locally looking to either register to vote or update their registration, MD Dems is hosting a virtual phone bank event this Saturday, January 22nd. If you’re interested and would like to register, click here

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