Civil rights and John Lewis’ legacy

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – On Saturday, one year since civil rights icon John Lewis died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 80.

Congregations across the country, including here in Salt Lake City, held candlelight vigils in his honor and to gather for members of Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Lewis fought tirelessly, marching in the streets and fighting for equal suffrage in Congress.

WATCH: Salt Lake City remembers the life of civil rights activist John Lewis

One of the most notable events in Lewis’ life was when he was beaten by police in 1965 when he marched over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama to vote for the vote, ultimately passed by both the House and Senate, and passed by President Lyndon B. Johnson signed. From 1987 until his death in 2020, he served 17 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives for the 5th

Bipartisan move in Congress to replace the Confederate statue in Washington with one by John Lewis

The anniversary of his death falls amid a controversial national debate over whether electoral laws should be changed, as 17 Republican-controlled states are considering or have already passed laws that will dictate when and where citizens can vote. Supporters say it is in response to allegations of electoral fraud made by former President Donald Trump in the months following his presidential defeat. Opponents, however, say the allegations are false and not supported by evidence. They also say the laws make it difficult to vote for marginalized communities that already have a low turnout.

Last week, the Texas House Democrats traveled to Washington DC to pressure members of Congress to enact new federal rules for conducting elections that would replace all government action. Ohio Congressman Joyce Beatty was arrested after participating in a suffrage protest in Washington DC. Minnesota Senator. Amy Klobuchar brought her Senate committee hearing on the new Georgia electoral law to Atlanta. US Republican Senators refused to attend the hearing, and Georgia Republicans called it a “circus,” saying their law actually made it easier to vote and harder to cheat.

Civil rights groups urge Biden to do more to protect minority voters

A panel of civil rights and community activists met with Rosie Nguyen of ABC4 on CW30 News at 7 p.m. to discuss Lewis’ legacy and the work that remains to be done in the Justice and Equality Movement. The guests were Jeanetta Williams, President of the NAACP Salt Lake Branch; Darlene McDonald, author and social activist; and Betty Sawyer, president of the Ogden NAACP.

The panel discussed how Lewis inspires and influences the work they are doing to this day, what have been some of the greatest challenges and obstacles in the struggle for civil rights, the current state of the movement in the US, and the significance of post-2020 events Death of George Floyd and their thoughts on the national debate on changing the franchise.

IN FOCUS Discussion: Changing electoral laws

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Williams, McDonald, and Sawyer, click the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with Rosie Nguyen of ABC4 on weekdays on the 7pm CW30 news

Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, at 7 p.m., she started a new trip as a presenter for CW30 News. She continues her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.

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